Hoeven Announces OPM Approves Pay Increases for Federal Workers at Minot Air Force Base

Senator Called on OPM to Address Federal Staffing Challenges in Region

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has approved a Department of Defense request for special rate increase for federal civilian workers at the Minot Air Force Base (MAFB). The action will increase the pay of base laborers, custodians, maintenance mechanics, cooks and other food service employees.

Hoeven has been pushing OPM to address cost-of-living challenges faced by federal workers at the base and in western North Dakota owing to economic growth in the oil patch. The increases are designed to help recruit and retain a high-quality federal workforce.

“This is good news for the civilian employees at Minot Air Force Base,” Hoeven said. “Now we continue to work with OPM and the Department of Interior to address the challenges other federal employees face trying to make ends meet in western North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “The U.S. Park Service, law enforcement agencies, oil and gas licensing offices and other federal service providers are feeling the impact of higher costs, especially for housing.”

Hoeven first made the case for cost-of-living adjustments for affected federal employees in western North Dakota in a March letter to the Federal Salary Council, which does salary and market analysis and makes recommendations to OPM. Subsequently, OPM indicated that consideration was underway at DOI, which is currently working on a special rate request for the Bakken region.

In a letter of response OPM Acting Deputy Associate Director Brenda L. Roberts, acknowledged the problem and said the Federal Salary Council would review market and salary data in Minot and western North Dakota to find programs that would help ensure that federal wages keep up with increases in cost-of-living.

At a follow-up meeting with Archuleta in Minot last September, the senator again highlighted the work being done by the Air Force, U.S. Postal Service and state of North Dakota, but stressed that OPM needed to work toward a timely solution and also address the needs of other federal departments serving in North Dakota.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is also responding to cost-of-living increases. Earlier this year, Hoeven announced that the USPS has approved 9 to 20 percent increases to postal employees’ base pay to attract and retain carriers in Minot and the Bakken region.

Growth in the state’s energy sector has driven the cost of living in Minot from below the national average in 2003 to 6 percent above it in 2013, making it difficult to recruit and retain civilian workers at the Minot Air Force Base and at federal agencies operating in the Bakken region.