Knox civil service union pickets DOD plan

Members of the Fort Knox chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees told management Tuesday are picketing in protest of 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 are against the NSPS saying it could "devastate morale" on U.S. military installations, according to the American Federation of Government Employees Web site.

The NSPS system likely will include changes in the way civilian jobs are graded and classified and the way employee and manager performance objectives are set, managed and rewarded.

It also will affect 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.

Thompson said that could affect seniority and cause favoritism among employees and management.

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

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

Thompson said there is no official timeline, but that some employees could be under the new system as early as July.

Union officials are urging employees to visit the NSPS Web site to read the proposed plan and make their own decisions. Public comments are now being accepted.

"We're trying to give them the information so they can make intelligent, informed comments," Thompson said. "We aren't telling them what to say."

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

According to the Fort Knox Public Affairs Office, 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.

For information on the NSPS, Thompson directs visitors to a Web site,, or Building 1109 on post. Off-post visitors can visit the union building at 158 W. Vine St. in Radcliff.

"This will impact all civil service employees, not just union members," Thompson said. "We want everyone to have the information."

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