Government employees picketing new work rules at Fort Knox

Members of the Fort Knox chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees told management Tuesday they are picketing over the National Security Personnel System.

The NSPS is the latest federal personnel system designed by the Department of Defense to be a more flexible civilian management plan. Union members oppopse the plant saying it could hurt on U.S. military installations.

The plan will impact the Defense Department's staffing flexibility, the way the department addresses personnel issues, discipline and appeals, and its relationship with its unions.

The AFGE is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 federal and Washington, D.C., government workers.

Bob Thompson, executive vice president of AFGE Local No. 2302, said the main concerns of the union focus on changing the current personnel system to a performance-based system.

The union is worried that there would no longer be a guaranteed annual pay increase or guaranteed locality pay, Thompson said. Thompson also said there were concerns because civilian employees could be considered "deployable assets."

"If they want you in Baghdad, then they can deploy you to Baghdad as a civil service employee," he said.

Union members have been at the main gate every morning since Tuesday, between 5:30 and 8 a.m. and plan to picket for another week, Thompson said.

A Fort Knox spokesman says the labor agreement with the local union allows for informational picketing. Military police are monitoring the picketing to ensure safety for drivers and employees, and that gate traffic will not be disturbed, the spokesman said.

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