WASHINGTON – Blue-collar workers at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey soon may be paid unified wages thanks to a vote Thursday by the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Council.
American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. praised the council’s vote and urged a swift decision by OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert to implement the council’s recommendation.
“All of these employees work under one commander on the same joint base, so it is clearly unfair for some to be paid less than others based solely on outdated geographical distinctions,” Cox said.
Currently, blue-collar workers on one side of the base are paid wages based on the New York City pay scale, while those on the other side of the base are paid wages based on the lower Philadelphia scale.
The disparity resulted when the joint base was formed in October 2009 from the merger of McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix, and Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst. Wages for white-collar workers under the General Schedule pay system were unified when the base was consolidated, but not for blue-collar workers under the Wage Grade system.
Cox said AFGE will continue to press the Obama administration to align all federal locality boundaries so hourly and salaried employees who work in the same location are paid the same locality rate.
“Paying two employees who work in the same location differently based solely on location simply doesn’t make sense, and it’s unfair to the employees who see the difference in their wallets,” Cox said. “AFGE will continue to fight until all of these outdated pay anomalies are eliminated.”