FAA's IT workers file grievance over special pay

FAA's IT workers file grievance over special pay

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

FEB. 7—The union representing some Federal Aviation Administration information technology workers has filed a national grievance with FAA administrator Jane F. Garvey for not granting special IT pay adjustments approved last year by the Office of Personnel Management.

Michael D. Fanfalone, president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists, has called on Garvey to immediately give the increases to IT workers not covered by performance-based pay.

FAA spokeswoman Tammy Jones said she was not familiar with the grievance but that the agency 'has our own [IT employee] acquisition system. Managers have the flexibility to set pay for core plan employees at rates that equal or exceed OPM's special rates.'

Former OPM director Janice R. LaChance in November established pay increases ranging from 7 percent to 33 percent for the government's computer scientists, specialists and engineers in grades up to GS-12. She said the move would help agencies attract and keep qualified IT workers.

Jones said FAA 'has looked at its IT positions and is paying very competitively. Turnover has been low over the last several years, which indicates the agency is already competitive in this field.'

A year ago, Garvey and Transportation Department inspector general Kenneth M. Mead testified before the Senate that money needed to modernize FAA's aviation systems should not go to salaries. The agency has been struggling to update its air traffic control systems for almost two decades.

The union grievance complicates the issue of air safety in an age of mergers, strikes and performance problems for airlines.

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