Cole, Cartwright reintroduce Wage Grade Employee Parity Act

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) joined Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) last week in re-introducing the Wage Grade Employee Parity Act to the House, legislation designed to ensure that salaried and hourly federal workers receive the same pay increases.

Currently, the president has the authority to offer salaried federal employees a raise for cost of living adjustments. He does not have the legal ability to give the same increase to hourly workers.

If approved, the bipartisan bill would authorize the president to provide the increase to both levels of employees.

This legislation would affect the wages of hundreds of thousands of hourly employees who work for the national government, including 174,000 at the Department of Defense. Other federal agencies with large numbers of hourly workers include the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

“I am pleased to join again with Congressman Cartwright and several colleagues to introduce the Wage Grade Employee Parity Act,” Cole said. “Regardless of the pay system, this bipartisan legislation ensures that the same cost of living adjustments will be extended to all federal employees. This not only provides parity within the federal workforce, but it helps retain key personnel who provide invaluable support across major areas of our government, including the Department of Defense.”

In Pennsylvania, approximately 2,000 workers at the Tobyhanna Army Depot, as well as those at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, would be affected by the legislation. 

“If we are to reduce income inequality in this country, the federal government must lead by example,”  Cartwright added. “By giving our blue collar workers the same raises as our white collar workers every year, we are valuing the hard work of all civilians serving their country.”