Consumer Protection Bureau’s Union Pushes Better Payments, Fewer Payment Gaps | So Good News
Leaders of the union representing employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are urging officials to stop dragging their feet in order to close the pay gap at the agency, including between CFPB employees and their fellow financial regulators.
Unlike most federal agencies, CFPB staff salaries are not tied to the General Schedule, to better equip the agency to compete for talent with financial institutions and other regulatory agencies. CFPB agencies can negotiate with regulators on compensation, unlike many of their counterparts elsewhere in the government.
But the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 335, which represents CFPB employees, said the agency’s policies have contributed to widening gender and gender pay gaps, and that the agency has failed to meet its legal obligations to coordinate. and other regulators such as the Federal Reserve Board on wages. . The Dodd-Frank Act, which established the CFPB, requires the agency’s pay to be “comparable” to that of Federal Reserve employees.
The union conducted an internal CFPB compensation audit in 2020, and found that black workers were paid about $20,000 less per year than their white counterparts. And the racial wage gap widened when accounting for gender — Hispanic women earn $18,600 less per year than whites, compared to Puerto Rico’s average salary of $16,000.
Catherine Farman, President of NTEU Chapter 335, said in January 2021, the union entered into an agreement with the management of the union to ensure that workers with the same knowledge and work are paid the same.
“Great  The agreement was about getting an organization-wide salary review and re-establishment, which provides a goal and a statement to look at everyone’s salary, evaluate their performance and resume, and use it to set salaries under the same salary establishment plan, ” Farman said. “It depends on the things that were in the ‘various forms of the process, such as ‘skills,’ ‘knowledge,’ and the interference that goes on depending on the decisions of the people.”
But almost two years after the start of the agreement, the salary review and revision has not happened. Farman said there have been many delays due to the data collection difficulties required at the beginning of the process, putting the information to the point where the CFPB has delegated the entire task to one staff member.
“The main reason is that there was poor management in the Office of Human Capital in terms of our work experience,” he said. “[They] basically they had one person working on it, and they didn’t provide the necessary resources to reorganize it and analyze it, and there’s been a lack of accountability and oversight under multiple managers. [of the office] to take responsibility. It was an impossible task for one person.”
Last summer, the CFPB finally responded to the union’s complaints about the service, brought in additional contracts and the wage review process resumed in August. This delay has hampered ongoing negotiations between the union and management on new wage levels that run the union, which are ongoing with the help of an independent mediator.
“Our goals are equal pay and equal pay [with other regulators], to address the wage gap and racial disparity,” said Farman. “Besides the gender pay gap, the other big gap in the compensation system is equal pay, which is the exact word that is mentioned in Dodd-Frank and another law. The rules about this require us to be paid the same as the Federal Reserve Board and other government regulators, but We are not paid like the workers in other agencies, so we always have people who go to those agencies or get killed because of this, and that is something that the office has not addressed.”
According to data compiled by the union, pay grades at the Federal Reserve Board will increase by 30.6% between 2012 and 2022, while pay grades at the CFPB will only increase by 1%. Although the CFPB approved the review of wages, Mr. Farman said that in discussions, the agency refused to admit that wage differences exist among workers, and refused to call to change wage groups to better reflect the way other federal regulators make.
“The bureau’s only concern since we went to discuss the salary is the budget,” he said. “They’re worried about the wages we have, and they’re worried about how much we can do to close the racial pay gap.” They will not admit that they are real. . . It’s a lot of money and it takes workers away from what we have. “
In a statement, a CFPB spokeswoman said the agency is committed to ensuring that employees are compensated fairly but could not comment on the topics discussed during the call.
“The CFPB is working with the NTEU on wage reform and is committed to ensuring that workers are compensated fairly,” the spokesperson said. “The CFPB and NTEU entered into mediation in October and we hope to be able to communicate soon. The communication process is confidential, so we cannot comment publicly on these discussions.”