Merit Pay Settlement Update


The first round of settlement payments to SEC employees under the NTEU-negotiated merit pay settlement are scheduled to occur by February 18, 2009. African-American bargaining unit employees in grades 8 and above, and all bargaining unit employees aged 40 or older, who worked at the SEC during the period from 2003 to 2007, will receive these distributions under the settlement. To be eligible, an employee must have been a member of the bargaining unit in October of 2008, when the settlement agreement was signed. In a second round later this year, the same participating employees will also receive an additional salary increase.

As anyone who has sought redress for discrimination knows, discrimination cases are often tough to prove. Using statistical evidence, NTEU proved its sophistication in presenting such cases by persuading an arbitrator that two classes of SEC employees had been discriminated against. Even more important, the union demonstrated that it will not back down from protecting SEC employees from systematic discrimination in the face of substantial resistance from the agency.

“As a result of NTEU’s strong support of its members at the SEC, including in obtaining significant monetary relief, the agency has once again been reminded that it must comply with federal labor law and the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and must negotiate with NTEU regarding matters that involve bargaining unit member rights,” LARO Chapter 293 Executive Board member and Senior Trial Counsel Karen Matteson recently observed about the Merit Pay settlement.

The payments in February will be made from the $2.7 million in damages provided for under the settlement agreement with NTEU. Eligible employees will receive points for each year in which they did not receive a 3-step increase from 2003 to 2007, based upon their grade. An employee must have been employed at the agency on January 1 to receive points for that year. An employee aged 40 or over must have reached the age of 40 by April 30 to receive points for that year. The total points assigned to all employees will be divided into the $2.7 million to determine each employee’s share.

The subsequent salary adjustments will be made when Congress passes a Fiscal Year 2009 budget for the SEC. If such a budget is not passed, the salary adjustments will be made in September, at the end of Fiscal Year 2009. Salary adjustments will be determined based upon a similar formula as for the February distributions. If an employee has reached the maximum salary for his or her grade, the adjustment will be paid to the employee as a one-time lump sum payment.

“I’m pleased with the Merit Pay settlement,” noted Headquarters Chapter 293 Steward Pat Copeland. “The settlement isn’t just about the money, it’s about the future treatment of employees at the SEC, especially the treatment of minorities and older employees. I have worked at the SEC for about 26 years. In the past, our own EEO office did not step up and fight for diversity and equal treatment. Thanks to NTEU, this is the first time that someone fought on behalf of minorities and older employees.”