Equal Work, Equal Pay

Rep. John Adler (D-N.J.) last week introduced legislation to ensure that civilian employees at New Jersey’s McGuire Air Force Base and Ft. Dix receive the same pay as those civilians working at the state’s Lakehurst Naval Engineering Station when the three installations merge on Oct. 1 into Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst, a product of BRAC 2005. In a release June 11, Adler cited a report that his office prepared noting the current pay discrepancy under which McGuire and Ft. Dix employees earn several thousand dollars less annually than their counterparts at Lakehurst. This is because McGuire and Ft. Dix are assigned to the Philadelphia pay locality, while Lakehurst is part of the higher New York federal cost-of-living zone. His legislation would consolidate the base into the higher New York zone so that all civilian employees are on the same pay scale. Adler also sees this as a means of enticing some of the federal employees who might otherwise opt to relocate outside of New Jersey when Ft. Monmouth closes to remain in the state and work at the new joint base. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported June 12 that Adler says his bill has the support of Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.