Conferees of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act are unlikely to come up with the final version of the bill before they leave town for the August recess, giving elected officials time to consider various provisions that would affect hundreds of thousands of defense civilian employees.
As a refresher, here are some hostile provisions being considered by the conferees:
- Extend probation periods for new hires to two years.
- Deny within-grade pay increases to employees based on past performance and not current performance.
- Allow the reduction-in-force process to be politicized as it would give managers discretion on who should be let go first.
- Cut headquarters personnel by 30%, which could serve as a precedent for the rest of the department. The cap on the size of the civilian workforce was first imposed on civilian personnel at the headquarters.
- Call for a study and report on the impact of the reduced per diem rates for long-term official travel. Such a study would have been beneficial prior to DoD actually implementing reduced per diem rates. AFGE supports the House language prohibiting DoD from reducing employee per diem allowances based on duration of travel.
Here are provisions that AFGE supports:
- Reverse travel per diem cuts and prevent DoD from passing lodging and dining costs onto DoD civilians.
- Prevent the resurrection of NSPS.
- Prevent privatization of the commissaries.
- Extend a cap on service contract spending.
- Give DoD civilians opportunities to perform new work they wouldn’t otherwise get because of the cap on the size of the civilian workforce.
- Prevent arbitrary conversions of civilian jobs to military.
- Exempt working capital funds employees, who are paid through reimbursements for the services they provide, from non-disciplinary furloughs as long as funds are available.
- Exclude working capital funds employees from arbitrary 20% cuts in headquarters personnel.
- Fix depots’ commercial item definition so that workload can be declared as core workload that can be performed by civilian employees.
- Require DoD to review items purchased overseas to see if any could be manufactured in the arsenals or fabricated in the depots, bringing additional work to civilian employees.
- Allow depot/arsenal employees to provide their input into the intellectual property study that affects their workload.