Bill Would Give Blue Collar Feds an Across-the-Board Pay Raise, Too

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa. Matt Rourke/AP

Hourly federal employees would receive the same across-the-board pay raise as their salaried colleagues in January under legislation unveiled on Thursday.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the House would ensure the 1 percent pay increase General Schedule federal employees are on track to receive next year applies to Wage Grade workers as well. President Obama’s recommended 1 percent pay hike for civilian employees on the GS pay scale will take effect in January unless Congress specifically blocks it, which seems unlikely at this point. It will be the first annual cost-of-living adjustment for federal employees in three years.

The president has the authority to set pay raises under the GS scale, but not under the wage grade system. Lawmakers would have to pass separate legislation granting pay increases for blue-collar workers. Under the uniform wage grade pay system, employee pay must be the same for all federal workers with similar jobs and align with comparable private-sector jobs in the same area, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

“The inconsistency in wages between WG and GS employees is inequitable,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa. “It hurts a group of Americans that can least afford a fourth year with no increase at all.” Several Republicans are co-sponsors of the bill.

More than 174,000 wage grade employees work for the Defense Department, which had to furlough hundreds of thousands of employees under sequestration, and briefly, during the government shutdown last month. The Veterans Affairs Department and Bureau of Prisons also employ many blue-collar workers.

The legislation was referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Cartwright in June introduced a bill to fix pay discrepancies between blue and white-collar federal workers caused by differences in the way the OPM classifies wage areas. That legislation is still in committee.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.