Last week, Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-03) continued his call for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to correct an ongoing pay disparity among workers at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst (JB MDL). In a letter to OPM Director John Berry, Runyan stressed the need for worker pay across the base to be covered under the same wage grade. Currently the base employees are split between the New York City and Philadelphia wage grades.
Before the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) decision, the JB MDL was three separate installations, Fort Dix, McGuire Air Force Base, and Lakehurst Naval Airstation. Fort Dix and McGuire AFB wage grade employees were paid at the lower Philadelphia wage pay grade, while Lakehurst employees were in the higher New York City wage rate. After the 2005 BRAC combined these bases, the disparity of pay remained for the hourly employees on the base but not the salaried employees who were are all transferred to the higher New York City wage rate.
On March 15th, the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) held a meeting to discuss sending a recommendation to Director Berry about wage grade parity at military installations, such as JB MDL. Congressman Runyan's staff attended the meeting in support of forwarding the recommendation and read a letter of support into the record. In a split decision, the FPRAC committee will be forwarding a recommendation to OPM Director Berry that would call for granting wage grade parity at JB MDL and other bases like it.
"This wage grade pay disparity was caused by the government and should be fixed by the government," said Rep. Runayn. "These hardworking wage grade base employees - many of whom are veterans- have waited long enough and deserve to have their pay adjusted to the New York City wage rate. I am troubled that OPM continues to delay, re-study, and re-vote on a recommendation that was already agreed to by the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee back in 2010. I will continue to fight to remedy this inequity."
In an effort to help the hourly wage employees of JB MDL, Congressman Runyan had language added to the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to remedy this situation. The NDAA, which was signed into law by President Obama December 31 2011, requested that OPM coordinate with the Department of Defense in ensuring that all employees at JB MDL are paid at the same wage rate. Additionally Representative Runyan introduced H.R. 1688, the BRAC Wage Locality Pay Parity Act of 2011.
New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is home to JB MDL, which employs over 40,000 men and women and is the second largest employer in New Jersey. Congressman Runyan serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.