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Posted at 6:22 PM ET, 12/17/2010

Chu to freeze salaries for Energy Dept. contract employees

By Joe Davidson
Anne Bartlett

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced a two-year halt on salary increases and bonuses for department contractors who manage the day-to-day operations at certain agency sites, including national laboratories.

Chu's Friday announcement follows a two-year pay freeze that President Obama has asked Congress to impose on federal employees.

"As our nation continues to recover from these challenging economic times, households and small businesses across the country are making sacrifices," said Chu. "In this spirit, we are asking our contractor employees, who are doing important research, operations, and environmental cleanup work, to join the federal workforce in playing a part."

An Energy spokesman said the department has greater authority to monitor the salaries of contractors than is found in other agencies.

The freeze will affect about 75,000 workers at 28 sites beginning Jan. 1. For those facilities that have already approved increases, the freeze will start at their next salary cycle and also last two years, according to the Energy Department.

"Our national labs, the country's crown jewels for leading research and development, will continue to attract and retain the nation's top scientists, and pursue some of the most important discoveries that will lead us into the 21st century," Chu said.

By Joe Davidson  | December 17, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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