After years of advocacy by NFFE, the IAM, and our Union allies pushing for a much-needed expansion to the locality pay system, 13 new General Schedule (GS) pay localities were announced in June of 2015. In addition to the new localities, 21 existing locality pay areas were expanded to include counties previously assigned to the lower-paid “Rest of U.S.” locality pay area. The new and expanded localities went into effect Jan. 1, 2016, amounting to a significant pay increase for all the GS federal workers located in the designated areas. It was a huge win for the employees and the Union that fought for these positive changes.
Employees around the country benefited from the new and expanded pay localities, and NFFE-IAM members at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA in particular saw major benefits from the new localities. Letterkenny Army Depot is home to two NFFE Locals – Local 1442 for GS employees and Local 1429 for Wage Grade (WG) employees. One of locality changes that went into effect on Jan. 1 was GS employees in Franklin County, PA (the county Letterkenny resides) were reassigned from the “Rest of U.S.” pay locality to the much higher-paid Washington-Baltimore locality pay area – resulting in a significant pay boost to GS employees.
While the pay locality reassignment was a significant victory following years of fighting for members of Local 1442, that win also resulted in a shared prosperity with Local 1429’s WG employees. As it stands, the Federal Wage Survey Wage Area (the regional pay boundaries for WG employees) covering Letterkenny overlaps two separate GS locality pay areas, “Rest of U.S.” and the Washington-Baltimore locality. As a result, this necessitates a two-tier wage schedule for the Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg wage area. The WG employees working within the “Rest of U.S.” GS pay locality receive significantly less pay than the WG employees working in regions covered by the Washington-Baltimore locality.
But now, following NFFE’s victory for new and expanded pay localities, Local 1442 NFFE-IAM members at Letterkenny have been placed in the Washington-Baltimore locality pay area, resulting in a sizable pay bump. And with the same victory, the WG employees of Local 1429 will also see a significant pay boost in March 2016 (when their regional wage survey is completed). All told, hundreds of NFFE-IAM members will be earning higher wages in 2016 because of the hard work of Local officers, the NFFE National Office, the IAM and our Union allies.
“This is a huge win for the WG workers at Letterkenny,” said NFFE Local 1429 President Chris Barlow. “In recent years, the increased cost of living was greatly outpacing the minor pay adjustments our members had been receiving. Employees were ecstatic to hear the news of this pay raise, and it was delivered by NFFE and our allies. Being a dues-paying NFFE-IAM member really does pay, and this pay bump is the clearest example of that.”