Pro-labor recommendations approved by council would correct regional pay gaps
WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees thanks the Federal Salary Council for adopting pro-labor recommendations that would increase pay for tens of thousands of federal employees and urges the Biden administration to adopt the recommendations.
“These recommendations would put additional money into the hands of federal employees whose pay lags behind their coworkers,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said. “I call on Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh – who together serve as the President’s Pay Agent – to accept these recommendations.”
The recommendations, many of which AFGE has been fighting to implement for years, would:
- Establish new pay localities in Fresno, Calif., and Spokane, Wash., where employees earn about 11% less than employees in the Rest of U.S. pay locality. Moving from the Rest of U.S. into their own pay localities would result in higher salaries for 11,400 federal employees under the General Schedule (GS) in those two cities.
- Add Reno, Nev., and Rochester, N.Y., to the list of locations the Bureau of Labor Statistics would consider for their own pay localities in the future, which would affect about 4,800 GS employees in the two cities. The pay gaps in those locations far exceed the minimum 10% threshold needed to create a new pay locality (Reno is at 16.79% and Rochester is at 17.70%).
- Add the following locations that are completely or almost completely surrounded by higher paying locations to existing pay localities: Emporia, Va., and Greensville County, Va., to the Richmond locality; Dukes and Nantucket counties in Massachusetts to the Boston locality; Huron County, Mich., to the Detroit locality; and Pacific and San Juan counties in Washington State to the Seattle locality.
- Update the criteria the council would use to establish and define new pay localities, which would result in about 15,400 GS employees moving into higher paying localities. The new criteria establish a 7.5% commuting rate for locations in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs), a 20% commuting rate for those outside a MSA or CSA, and a total 20% commuting rate for locations surrounded by different pay localities. It also eliminates the requirement for there to be at least 2,500 GS employees in the area of application – a totally irrelevant measure of a local labor market.
- Follow established precedent by allowing counties currently counted in MSAs and CSAs to be added to existing pay localities while also allowing counties currently in a locality that are no longer a part of the relevant MSA or CSA to remain. This would affect about 1,300 GS employees.
- Adhere to existing rules when determining whether to consider areas that request an exception to the Federal Salary Council criteria.
- Calculate 2023 locality rates using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey and Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics model.
The Federal Salary Council comprises three presidential appointees and representatives from five federal employee unions, including AFGE. The council’s recommendations must be approved by the President’s Pay Agent before taking effect.