B-172119, MAY 20, 1971

B-172119: May 20, 1971

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AS 44 U.S.C. 305 PROVIDES THAT WAGE DETERMINATIONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE MORE OFTEN THAN ONCE A YEAR NEITHER THE PUBLIC PRINTER NOR THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING MAY INCORPORATE FRINGE BENEFITS IN A CURRENT AGREEMENT SO AS TO AUTHORIZE RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENTS. SPENCE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 5. REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE PUBLIC PRINTER OR THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING IS EMPOWERED TO MAKE A RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENT REQUESTED BY THE PHOTOENGRAVERS AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. WERE PROPERLY INCLUDABLE IN THE WAGE FORMULA APPROVED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING IN FEBRUARY 1962 FOR USE BY THE PUBLIC PRINTER IN CONFERRING WITH CERTAIN TRADES FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING WAGES UNDER THE KIESS ACT.

B-172119, MAY 20, 1971

RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENT - PHOTOENGRAVER REGARDING RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENT REQUESTED BY THE PHOTOENGRAVERS AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE AND APPROVED BY JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING. AS 44 U.S.C. 305 PROVIDES THAT WAGE DETERMINATIONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE MORE OFTEN THAN ONCE A YEAR NEITHER THE PUBLIC PRINTER NOR THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING MAY INCORPORATE FRINGE BENEFITS IN A CURRENT AGREEMENT SO AS TO AUTHORIZE RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENTS.

TO MR. SPENCE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 5, 1971, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE PUBLIC PRINTER OR THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING IS EMPOWERED TO MAKE A RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENT REQUESTED BY THE PHOTOENGRAVERS AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.

YOUR LETTER STATES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"DURING THE COURSE OF THE 1970-1971 WAGE CONFERENCES CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE KIESS ACT (44 U.S.C. 305), THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING RULED THAT CERTAIN FRINGE BENEFITS, NOT THERETOFORE INCLUDED IN THE WAGE DETERMINATIONS, WERE PROPERLY INCLUDABLE IN THE WAGE FORMULA APPROVED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING IN FEBRUARY 1962 FOR USE BY THE PUBLIC PRINTER IN CONFERRING WITH CERTAIN TRADES FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING WAGES UNDER THE KIESS ACT. THIS ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION WENT INTO EFFECT IN JUNE 1970 AND WAS INCORPORATED INTO ALL WAGE AGREEMENTS NEGOTIATED SUBSEQUENT THERETO.

"ALTHOUGH THE PHOTOENGRAVERS HAD COMPLETED WAGE NEGOTIATIONS FOR 1970 AND THE RESULTANT WAGE RATES HAD BEEN APPROVED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING PRIOR TO JUNE 1970, THEY REQUESTED THAT THEIR PAY BE RETROACTIVELY ADJUSTED TO INCLUDE THE BENEFITS GIVEN TO THE OTHER CRAFTS INVOLVED."

IN A LETTER TO YOU DATED SEPTEMBER 21, 1970, AND IN REFERENCE TO AN "ALL CRAFTS" CONFERENCE, THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PHOTOENGRAVERS STATED THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT ALTHOUGH THEY HAD COMPLETED WAGE NEGOTIATIONS FOR 1970 UNDER YOUR PREDECESSOR, THE HONORABLE JAMES L. HARRISON, ANY NEW FRINGE BENEFITS THAT WOULD BE INCORPORATED IN LATER AGREEMENTS WITH THE REMAINING CRAFTS COULD POSSIBLY BE ADDED TO THEIR WAGES RETROACTIVELY. IN ADDITION, IT WAS ACKNOWLEDGED THEREIN THAT YOU INDICATED THIS WOULD NECESSARILY BE GOVERNED BY LAW AND THAT THEY COULD EXPECT THESE FRINGE BENEFITS TO BE ADDED IF PRACTICABLE.

YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION SINCE 44 U.S.C. 305 PROVIDES THAT WAGES, SALARIES AND COMPENSATION DETERMINED UNDER SUCH SECTION ARE NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE OFTENER THAN ONCE A YEAR.

THE CITED STATUTE PROVIDES GENERALLY THAT THE RATE OF WAGES, INCLUDING COMPENSATION FOR NIGHT AND OVERTIME WORK, FOR MORE THAN TEN EMPLOYEES OF THE SAME OCCUPATION SHALL BE DETERMINED BY A CONFERENCE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC PRINTER AND A COMMITTEE SELECTED BY THE TRADES AFFECTED, AND THE RATES AND COMPENSATION SO AGREED UPON SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE UPON APPROVAL BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING. IN THE INSTANT CASE THE WAGES OF THE PHOTOENGRAVERS WERE APPROVED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE PRIOR TO JUNE 1970, THE DATE THE FRINGE BENEFITS WERE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION AND INCORPORATED INTO AGREEMENTS NEGOTIATED SUBSEQUENT THERETO.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE AND SINCE 44 U.S.C. 305 PROVIDES THAT THE WAGE DETERMINATIONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE OFTENER THAN ONCE A YEAR, NEITHER THE PUBLIC PRINTER NOR THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING MAY AT THIS TIME INCORPORATE THE FRINGE BENEFITS IN THE CURRENT AGREEMENT SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE REQUESTED RETROACTIVE PAY ADJUSTMENTS. SEE 46 COMP. GEN. 346 (1966).