Casey says workers at Letterkenny, other Army depots aren’t paid right, sends letter to OPM for a fix

23 April 2024- U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to implement a policy to end the persistent wage disparities for federal workers, including those at the Tobyhanna Army Depot and Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine. Currently, salaried employees at these critical national security facilities are included in higher paying locality pay areas than their hourly employee counterparts.

“The [Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee’s] recommended regulation will enhance military readiness during a time of global turmoil and establish fairness for the federal workforce, overcoming years of division that has undermined the sense of fairness and equity between the two major pay systems. We urge you to swiftly accept the recommended regulation,” the Senators wrote.

Senators Casey and Collins have continually advocated for the harmonization of locality pay areas for hourly and salaried workers to lift a financial burden that has impacted federal workers for many years.

In addition to Senators Casey and Collins, the letter was signed by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Katie Britt (R-AL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ed Markey (D-MA).

The full text of the letter can be found below.


Dear Director Ahuja,

We write to you urging swift action on the regulatory recommendation agreed to by the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) at its December 21, 2023, meeting to harmonize locality pay areas for hourly and salaried federal workers.

As you know, for over 15 years, FPRAC has grappled with the issue of inconsistent locality boundaries between the Federal Wage System (FWS), which determines the pay of hourly Wage Grade (WG) employees, and the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, which determines the pay of salaried GS employees. We recognize and commend FPRAC’s recent work to align the FWS method of determining local labor market boundaries with the GS method. FPRAC’s 9-1 vote, backed by representatives of both federal labor and management, to recommend this updated regulation would resolve an issue that many of us have been pushing OPM to adopt for years. 

Despite strong support for the proposed regulation, three months have passed and OPM has not yet formally accepted the FPRAC recommendation. We ask that you act swiftly to accept the recommendation and begin to move the proposed regulation through the rulemaking process.

Revising 5 CFR § 532.211 will enable the federal government to compete with the private sector for the skilled tradesmen and women serving in critical government functions all across the country. FPRAC’s recommended regulation will enhance military readiness during a time of global turmoil and establish fairness for the federal workforce, overcoming years of division that has undermined the sense of fairness and equity between the two major pay systems.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns, and for OPM’s continued work supporting the federal government’s most valuable resource—its people.