Unions rally against personnel changes as Pentagon issues new details

UnionsrepresentingbothfederalandnonfederalemployeesjoinedinarallyThursdaytoprotestlimitsoncollectivebargaininginthefederalgovernment.OnthestepsoftheAFL-CIOheadquartersinWashington,hundredsofunionmembersgatheredinwhattheydescribedasarallyforthehumanrighttounionrepresentation,givingspecialnoticetofederalemployees."BushhasturnedthegovernmentintoAmerica'sNo.1unionbuster,"AFL-CIOExecutiveVicePresidentLindaChavez-Thompsonsaid.Chavez-ThompsonwasreferringtopersonnelreformsunderwayintheHomelandSecurityandDefensedepartmentsthat,inadditiontoreplacingtheGeneralSchedulewithaperformance-andmarket-basedpaysystem,aredesignedtolimitunioninfluence.Administrationofficialsarguethelimitationsprovidethemwiththenecessaryflexibilitytodefendthecountryagainstterroristattacks.OnWednesday,thedepartmentreleasednewdetailsontheperformanceevaluationaspectoftheplannedsystem.TheunionrallyfeaturedtwospeakersfromtheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployees,thelargestfederalemployeeunionandanAFL-CIOaffiliate."Thebottomlineisthatunionfederalemployeeshavedutifullyandsuccessfullyprotectedthiscountryfordecades,"AFGEmemberandDefenseDepartmentemployeeKeithHillsaid."Unionmembersarenottheenemy."AFGEpresidentJohnGagetoldthecrowdthatcurtailmentsoffederalworkers'unionrightswillpavethewaytolimitationsoutsidethegovernment."Weknowthatifithappenstous,stateandlocalgovernmentswillbenext,"Gagesaid,followedbytheprivatesector,includingtransportationandcommunicationsworkers.Whiletheeventwasnotableforitsattentiontofederalemployees,itwasjustoneofdozensworldwidecoordinatedbytheAFL-CIOtomarktheanniversaryoftheUnitedNations'adoptionoftheUniversalDeclarationofHumanRights.Thedeclarationincludestherighttojoinandformunions.TheAirLinePilotsAssociation,AmericanFederationofTeachersandCommunicationWorkersofAmericaweresomeoftheunionspresentattheevent.ButevenaslabororganizationsdotheirbesttohaltthepersonnelreformsatDefenseandHomelandSecurity,includingfilinglawsuits,thePentagonisforgingahead.TheDefenseDepartmentreleasedanew25-pagehandbookontheNationalSecurityPersonnelSystemWednesdayonitsWebsite.Thehandbookaddressesthehumanresourceselementsofthenewsystemanddoesnotdiscusscollectivebargaining.Itscontentsarestillsubjecttounionconsultation."ThepurposeofthisprimeristoprovideyouwithanunderstandingofwhatisproposedinthehumanresourcesportionofNSPS,"theWebsitestated.Theprimerclarifiesthattheperformance"shares"employeeswillearnbasedonhowtheyareratedinrelationtotheirpeerscanbepaidoutintheformofeitherapermanentraiseorinaone-timebonus,atthediscretionofsupervisors.TheDefenseDepartmentrecommendsthatsupervisorsusebonusesforemployeeswhoarepaidatthetopofthemarketrangefortheirtypeofjob.Bonusesalsocouldbeawardedforgoodworkthatisconsideredaone-timeachievement,thehandbooksays.Supervisorsshouldrecognize,however,"thatbonusesdonotcontributetoemployeeretirementbenefitsorThriftSavingsaccounts,"theguidelinesstate."Inappropriateoveruseofthebonuscouldresultinmorale,recruitmentandretentionproblems."Thehandbookalsooutlinesthefivestepsrequiredforperformance-basedraises:plan,monitor,develop,rateandreward.Theoutlinecallsforobjectivestobesetfromthestart,ongoingfeedbackandreviews,continuingtraininganddevelopment,clearevaluations,andfinally,rewardsbasedongoodperformance.Eachyear,thisprocesswillrunfromOct.1throughSept.30.Accordingtotheprimer,paypoolsfromwhichtheraiseswillbedividedupwillhavebetween50and300employees.Thepoolscouldbecreatedbasedonjobfunction,location,missionororganizationalstructure.http://www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/ns12082005.cfm

FromWhiteHousetoCalifornia,WorkersCallForFreedomtoFormUnions
Dec.8—Some60,000workingpeopleandtheiralliestookpartinmarchesandralliesincitiesacrossthenationDec.8tohighlighttheneedtorestoreworkers’freedomtoformunions.AstheunionmovementheadstowardtheculminationofaweeklongseriesofeventsmarkingInternationalHumanRightsDay,Dec.10,workersralliedinBoston,marchedfromChicago’shistoricHaymarketSquareandshoutedunionchantsaspartofa3,000-strongpicketlineattheWhiteHouseinWashington,D.C.
“Oneofourmostfundamentalfreedomsisunderattack,notinsomeforeigncountry,butrighthereintheUnitedStates,”saidKeithHill,presidentofAFGELocal1647.Hill,who’sstationedattheTobyhannaArmyDepotinPennsylvania,spoketoactivistswhogatheredattheAFL-CIObuildinginWashington,D.C.,beforemarchingtotheWhiteHouse.
“Thisattackisunwarranted,outrageousandaninsulttothepeoplewhofightdailyforthiscountry,”saidHill,whohasprovidedon-the-groundsupportforU.S.troopsinAfghanistanandwhosebrotherandsonareinIraqorabouttobedeployedthere.
FollowinganenergeticrallyinWashington,D.C.,AFL-CIOExecutiveVicePresidentLindaChavez-Thompsonandtheleadersofseveralunionsandtheirallies,includingNationalEducationAssociationPresidentRegWeaver,marchedwithworkerstotheWhiteHouse,wheretheyformedahugecircularpicketline.AdelegationthenpresentedtoWhiteHouseguardsapetitionsignedby100,000workerscallingontheBushadministrationtohonorfederalworkers’freedomtoformaunionandbackoffproposalsthatwouldtakecollectivebargainingrightsfrom650,000civilianDefenseDepartmentworkersand160,000HomelandSecurityemployees.WorkersandTheirUnionsScoreKeyVictoriesinWeeklongMobilization
TheWhiteHouseprotestcametwodaysafterworkersinNewYorkCityscoredamajorwinatLifespire,anonprofitagencyservingpeoplewithdevelopmentaldisabilities.Theagencygaveupits10-monthbattleagainstitsemployees’desiretoformaunionwithCivilServiceEmployeesAssociation/AFSCMELocal1000andagreedtoremainneutralintheorganizingcampaignandtorecognizetheunionifamajorityofthemorethan1,000workerssignauthorizationcards.
OnDec.6,PhiladelphiaRepublicanmembersofCongressMikeFitzpatrickandCurtWeldonsignedonasco-sponsorsoftheEmployeeFreeChoiceAct(S.842andH.R.1696),whichwouldstrengthenprotectionsforworkers’freedomtochoosebyrequiringemployerstorecognizeaunionafteramajorityofworkerssignscardsauthorizingunionrepresentation.Andearlythisweek,11NobelPeacePrizeLaureatesissuedastatementsupportingworkers’freedomtoformunionsintheUnitedStatesandaroundtheworld.
Earlierthisweek,hundredsofOaklandworkersmarchedtoCityHallDec.6tohighlightthestruggleComcastworkersfaceintheireffortstojoinaunionwithCommunicationsWorkersofAmerica.Ataworkers’rightshearingthatsameday,workerstestifiedaboutthefailureofU.S.laborlawtoprotectworkerswhotrytojoinunions.
http://www.fednews-online.com/view_publication.aspx?publicationId=8689

OPMREPORTTOUTSALTERNATIVEPERSONNELSYSTEMS
12/9/2005
TheOfficeofPersonnelManagementrecentlyreleasedareportexpressingtheagency’sconfidenceinusingalternativepayandpersonnelsystems.

AlternativePersonnelSystemsinPracticeandaGuidetotheFuturedetailsthefederalgovernment’s25-yearexperiencewithalternativestothegeneralschedulepersonnelsystemsthroughdemonstrationprojectsandindependentalternativesystems.
OPMreviewedtheresultsofimplementingperformance-based,alternativepaysystemsonparticularagenciesandreachedfivesignificantconclusionsabouttheircommonexperiences:

?Agenciesdiscardedthegeneralscheduleinfavorofmorepracticalclassificationandmarketsensitivepay

?Performance--notseniority--drovepay

?Successdependedoneffectiveimplementation

?Employeeseventuallysupportedalternativepaysystems

?Agenciesfundedtheirsystemsoutofexistingbudgets

Theperiodexaminedinthereportdemonstratesalternativepersonnelsystem’simpactonmorethan90,000employeesfromvariousagencies,includingtheNationalInstituteofStandardsandTechnology,theDepartmentofDefenseLaboratoryDemonstrationProgramsandtheFederalAviationAdministration.

BeforeaSenatecommitteelastmonth,OPMDirectorLindaM.SpringercitedDoD’stwodecadesofsuccessinimplementingalternativepersonnelsystemspilotprojectsandsaidshelooksforwardtosuccessfullyimplementingtheNationalSecurityPersonnelSystem.

“Theprimarypurposeofanymodernhumanresourcesystemistoenhancetheorganization'sabilitytoaccomplishitsmission,”SpringertoldtheCommitteeonHomelandSecurityandGovernmentalAffairs.“Putting‘missionfirst'isafundamentalguidingprincipleinherentinourdesignoftheNSPS.ThisprinciplerecognizestheneedfortheDepartment'snewHRsystemtoberesponsivetoanever-changingenvironment.”

http://www.hilltoptimes.com/story.asp?edition=235&storyid=6576

Newcivilianpersonnelsystemtakesshape
byG.A.Volb
OgdenALCPublicAffairsLiketheartistwhocontinuesreshapingclayuntiltheendproductmeetshisvision,theDepartmentofDefensecontinuestotweaktheNationalSecurityPersonnelSystembasedonitsneedsandworkforceconcerns.
NSPS,thePentagon’snewprogramtorefurbishitscivilianpersonnelsystem,replacesthecurrentGeneralSchedulesystemwithbroadpaybandsandtiespayraisestoperformanceevaluations.Somecurrentconcernsabouttheprograminclude:
•Numberofpaybands
•Salaryrangesforeachpayband
•Careerpaths
•Jobclassifications
•Performancefactorsusedtoevaluateemployees“Thinkofkeyimplementingissuancesasinstructionsormanuals,”saidDanRobinett,oftheHillNSPSteam.“ThedraftissuancesprovidedetailsforcarryingoutprovisionsincludedintheNSPSregulationsandaresubjecttothecontinuingcollaborationprocesswithrepresentativesofDODemployees.
“TherewillbefourcareergroupingsunderNSPS,”Mr.Robinettsaid.“Theywillbe:Standard,ScientificandEngineering,Medical,andInvestigativeandProtectiveServices.Eachofthecareergroupshasitsownpayschedules.”
Thecareergroupsandpayschedulesare:
•Standard:Professional/Analytical,Technician/Support,Supervisor/Managerandstudent/EducationalEmployment.
•ScientificandEngineering:Professional,Technical/Support,Supervisor/Manager.
•Medical:Physician/Dental,Professional,Technician/Support,Supervisor/Manager.
•InvestigativeandProtectiveServices:Investigative,FireProtection,Police/SecurityGuard,Supervisory/Manager.
Thecurrentdraftlaysoutpaybandsforthepayschedulesassignedtoeachcareergroup.Forexample,theProfessional/AnalyticalpayschedulewithintheStandardcareergrouphasthreepaybands:Entry/Intern/Developmental(payband1);FullPerformance/JourneyLevel(payband2);andSubjectMatterExpert/ProgramManagerLevel(Payband3).
“Atthetimeofconversion,thesalaryrangeforthebandswillcorrelatetothatfortheGSgradeswithinthem,”Mr.Robinettsaid.“Withinthatpayschedule,paybandonerangesfromGS-5toGS-8,paybandtworangesfromGS-9toGS-13,andpaybandthreerangesfromGS-14-GS-15.”Hesaidtheadditionsalsoreferenceperformance-basedraisesandhowtheywillbecalculated.
“Performancebasedraiseswillusea‘sharevalue’system,”Mr.Robinettesaid.“Youcouldlookatitasa‘pieceofthepie.’Eachemployeeisrated1-5andgivenanumberofshares.Ratings1and2havenosharesassigned,‘ValuedPerformer,’rating3(1or2shares,‘Exceedsexpectations,’rating4(3or4shares),and‘RoleModel,’rating5(5or6shares).Onceeveryoneisassignedanumberofshares,theperformancemoniesaredividedbasedonacalculatedshareproduct(percentage)multipliedbythenumberofsharestheemployeereceived,andthenmultipliedbytheemployee’sbasesalary.
“Eachreviewcycle,raiseswillbecalculatedbymultiplyingearnedsharesbythevalueofasingleshare,andthenmultiplyingbytheirbasesalary,”accordingtoMr.Robinett.
HeemphasizedthatreductioninpayunderNSPSisnodifferentthantodayandrequiresanadverseaction.“Sosomeone’sbosscouldnotjustlowerpayfornoreason,”Mr.Robinettsaid.“PaybandsarebroadtoallowflexibilityallowingtheDepartmenttomoveemployeesmorefreelyacrossarangeofworkopportunitieswithoutbeingboundbynarrowlydescribedworkdefinitions.”
NSPSisscheduledtodeployitsinitialstagesatHillinthespring.AunionlawsuitfiledintheU.S.DistrictCourtfortheDistrictofColumbiamaycausedelaysinthecurrenttimeschedule.http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051209/BUSINESS07/512090439/1020/BUSINESS

Unionleadersrallyforworkers'rights
ProtestisdirectedatBush'spolicies
BYKIMCHIPMAN
BLOOMBERG
December9,2005
U.S.laborleadersledarallyoutsidetheWhiteHouseinWashingtononThursdaytoprotestPresidentGeorgeW.Bush'slaborpoliciesandtourgetheadministrationtorecognizeworkers'rightstoformunions.
"Wehavetoreturndemocracytotheworkplace,"AndyLevin,headoftheAFL-CIO'sVoice@Workcampaign,saidatthegatheringofmorethan1,000unionmembersandotherprotesters."Wemustrestorethefundamentalrighttojoinaunion."
Theprotestispartofmorethan100rallies,marchesandmeetingsbeingheldthisweektohighlightwhatlaborleaderssayisalossofworkers'freedomtoformunions.SuchrightshaveerodedintheUnitedStates,particularlysince1981whenthen-PresidentRonaldReaganfiredmorethan11,000strikingair-trafficcontrollers,saidStewartAcuff,theAFL-CIO'sorganizingdirector.
"ItgavethesignaltocorporateAmericathattheywouldgetsupportincrushingworkers'rights,"Acuffsaid.
AFL-CIOPresidentJohnSweeneyclaimsthattheBushadministrationsupportsanantiunioncorporatecultureandistryingtoeliminatecollectivebargainingrightsforfederalemployees.Sweeneyblamessuchpoliciespartlyforthedeclineinunionmembership.Thenumberofprivate-sectorworkersinunionsfellbelow8%lastyear,thelowestinmorethan70years.
WhiteHousespokeswomanErinHealydeclinedtocommentontheprotest.
WilliamKilberg,aformerLaborDepartmentlawyerwhopracticesatthefirmofGibson,Dunn&CrutcherinWashington,saysit'snottruethatworkershavelosttheirrighttoorganize.
"Legalprotectionsforworkerstochooseornottochooseaunionarethesametodayastheywereduringtheheightofprivate-sectorunionmembershipinthe1950s,"hesaidinastatement."It'samistaketoconfusethepercentageofprivateworkforcewhichisunionizedwiththerightswhichworkerspossess."
TheAFL-CIO,alaborfederationrepresenting53U.S.unions,saysthepushtostrengthenlaborlawsisgainingmomentuminCongress.Earlierthisweek,twoRepublicansintheHouseofRepresentatives--CurtisWeldonandMichaelFitzpatrickofPennsylvania--saidtheywouldbacklegislationthatwouldmakeiteasierforworkerstoformunions.
Theirsupportbooststhenumberofbackersofthelegislation,theEmployeeFreeChoiceAct,to207Housemembers,11shyofamajority.About40senatorsfavorthemeasure,whichwasreintroducedinCongressthisyearafterlanguishingin2003.
"Bushwouldneversignthislegislation,"Acuffsaid."Butwehavetopursuethisandfightforit.Wecan'twaituntilthestarsarealignedpolitically--wehavetoforcethestarstoalign."
Thisweek'seventsaretimedtocoincidewithInternationalHumanRightsDayonSaturday.Earlierthisweek,11NobelPeacePrizeLaureates,includingformerU.S.PresidentJimmyCarter,urgedallnationstorecognizeandprotectworkers'rights.


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