11.17.22

Vermont Delegation Supports Locality Pay For Southeastern Vermont

. . . Leahy, Sanders, Welch Continue Long-Running Effort To Fix Pay Gaps

(THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2022) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Senator-elect Peter Welch (D-Vt.) this week joined their New Hampshire counterparts in sending a letter urging a locality pay region be established for the White River Junction area of Vermont.  Federal workers in Windsor and Orange Counties in Vermont, and Grafton and Sullivan County in New Hampshire, face gaps with their private sector equivalents and nearby Federal employees due to categorization as “rest-of-U.S.”  Vermonters who work for the White River Junction VA and the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab have strongly advocated for the change.

The letter endorses a recommendation to institute locality pay for the four counties by the Federal Salary Council, an entity charged with considering concerns of Federal employees and making recommendations to maintain a competitive and competent Federal Workforce.  The letter is addressed to an inter-agency group – the President’s Pay Agent – which will review the full report this winter.  The Pay Agent is a three-part board of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and the Secretary of Labor.  Vermont’s Congressional Delegation has supported similar efforts by Vermonters in the past, including one that led to the establishment of a new locality pay region for northwest Vermont.

Leahy said:  “These Federal employees are dedicated, hardworking Vermonters, who so many Americans rely on to take care of family and loved ones.  We need to take care of them too, and instituting locality pay would be an important step in that direction.”

Sanders said: “Too many Vermont federal employees – who show up every day to serve their fellow Vermonters, including providing essential veterans’ health care – are struggling to afford basic needs like housing, child care, and transportation to work. Many have been forced to leave the jobs they love, while many others, who want to serve their community, cannot afford to take the job in the first place. Let’s be clear: This is unacceptable, for the workers themselves and for the Vermont communities they serve. It’s time to establish a locality pay area so these Vermont federal workers can receive a fair wage for their important public service.”

Welch said: “The 1,260 federal employees in Vermont and New Hampshire work hard every day to serve our communities. By adding these federal workers to locality pay areas, we can make sure that they will be able to keep pace with higher costs and continue to serve our country in the years to come.”

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