That 3 percent pay increase for 2,700 craft workers at the Government Printing Office will be retroactive to June 18. In addition, those GPO workers will also be getting an adjustment, based on the cost of living in metropolitan Washington, of up to 2 percent in December.

The pay rise was ordered by the Joint Congressional Committee on Printing, which also directed cost-of-living adjustments of up to 5 percent in June 1983 and June 1984. Unions at GPO had asked for a 20 percent raise over the next two years. The Public Printer, who says wages at GPO are out of line with industry and the rest of government, had proposed a 22 percent cutback over three years.

Merit Pay: The Defense Department has recommended that merit pay be extended to cover everybody in government at Grades 13, 14 and 15. Merit pay is now limited to about 150,000 managers and supervisors in those grades, including about 60,000 in this area.

If Congress and the White House buy the Defense proposal, persons under merit pay would get full October percentage pay raises -- if they got ratings of satisfactory or better -- and regular longevity raises (every one, two or three years) worth 3 percent.

The Defense proposal would make it possible to withhold pay raises from persons under merit pay who are rated less-than-satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Under the current program they get half of the regular October percentage pay raise even if they get bad marks from their agency.