“The inconsistency in wages between WG and GS employees is inequitable,” Cartwright said in a statement. “It hurts a group of Americans that can least afford a fourth year with no increase at all. “For this reason, I am proud to introduce this legislation which would benefit a group that has been particularly impacted by a four year pay freeze, the recent Defense furloughs and the government shutdown.”
The Defense Department employs more than 174,000 wage-grade employees — the highest concentration of blue-collar workers among federal agencies. The Veterans Affairs Department and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons also employ large numbers of wage-grade employees.
Pay for workers employed under the Federal Wage System (FWS), according to OPM regulations, must generally align with with both the pay earned by both other federal employees and private-sector workers doing similar jobs in the same area.
Cartwright’s bill has drawn bipartisan support, including from Reps. Tom Cole (R- Okla.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.).