Thanks to AFGE, the U.S. Coast Guard has decided not to proceed with its decision to contract out mailroom functions at the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center in West Virginia. AFGE Council 120 in June learned that the Coast Guard was planning to outsource the mailroom functions currently performed by 16 employees represented by AFGE Local 43.
The Council and AFGE National Office subsequently drafted a letter to the director of the National Vessel Documentation Center, arguing that the contract would place the Coast Guard in violation of federal laws and OMB guidance prohibiting direct conversions. The letter also asked the agency to explain the legal basis for the decision to contract and for details on how the work would be contracted.
Copies of the letter were sent to Coast Guard leadership and West Virginia lawmakers. The agency responded two weeks later, saying “we are rescinding our notice to contract out the mailroom functions in order to engage some additional experts to review the situation.”
The employees, the Local, and the Council couldn’t be happier.
“We are thrilled that they have taken their foot off the accelerator and stopped the car before they drove it off the cliff,” said AFGE Council 120 President Demetrios Stroubakis. “This is the third time the Coast Guard has tried to privatize the vessel documentation function. We successfully defeated their first two efforts because we acted quickly and found legislative allies who convinced the agency to knock it off.”
The union is reaching out to legislators and higher officials in the Coast Guard and DHS to stop any future outsourcing plans, which would only waste taxpayer money and foster turmoil in the workplace. The Council has asked that the contracting issue be discussed at the Coast Guard’s next Labor-Management Forum on July 22.
“Our employees are confident that we will find more legal, appropriate, and cost effective alternatives to a private contractor workforce at NVDC,” Stroubakis said.