"May I offer my congratulations to the members of organized labor on this 1960 Labor Day. American labor has insisted upon, and won, the highest wages and best working conditions in the world. You have not been content to sit still and let well enough alone.You have shown that high living standards can be won within the context of freedom. "
--John F. Kennedy, Special Labor Day Message, 1960
As we approach Labor Day weekend, we often receive messages wishing us well, and reminding us to have a nice barbecue with our families and friends. We just wanted to take the opportunity this Labor Day to also remind you of the importance of unions – and in particular of our union here at the SEC – to our quality of life, our benefits, and our pay. Labor Day is, after all, the one time of the year that we reflect upon the role of unions in our lives.
In thinking about this today, JFK’s quote above from his 1960 Special Labor Day Message comes to mind. This is in part due to the fact that today President Biden sent congressional leaders a formal letter transmitting an alternative pay plan for the calendar year 2024 pay raise for General Schedule federal workers that would provide an average 5.2% pay increase in 2024 (a 4.7% across-the-board raise, plus locality adjustments averaging 0.5%). This is significant for SEC employees because, when the union negotiated the SEC Compensation Agreement for you that contains the formula for our 2024 pay raise, we had the foresight to include this GS increase in the formula, which will lead to a better raise for you next year.
Under the union’s Compensation Agreement, the SEC is required to provide a pay increase in 2024 equal to (i) the GS across-the-board increase, plus (ii) a 2.65% merit pay increase, plus (iii) the locality pay adjustment (which typically averages 0.75% here at the SEC, due to the locations of the agency’s offices). So, under President Biden’s plan, this will total an average raise of 8.1% for SEC employees. SEC employees who are not at the maximum “salary cap” for their grade will receive this entire average 8.1% increase as a raise in April 2024. Those who are at the salary cap will receive the 2.65% merit increase as a one-time cash payment and the remainder as a raise.
The pay increase presented by President Biden to Congress today is highly likely to become the final pay increase for Feds. The reason for this is that, once the President proposes an “alternative pay raise” that differs from the formula contained in the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, that proposal generally becomes the federal pay increase unless both houses of Congress override that determination. In the union’s opinion, under present circumstances, the likelihood of the House and Senate agreeing to override President Biden’s determination on the pay increase is small.
So please remember the importance of your union as you celebrate Labor Day this weekend!
Oh…and we also wish you well and hope that you have a nice barbecue with your family and friends.