AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. Dec. 3 met with Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to discuss three pressing issues that affect the Department of Defense’s civilian workforce: personnel management, commissaries, and sourcing.
Cox told the senator that DoD’s Force of the Future plan would revive the infamous National Security Personnel System (NSPS) or worse. AFGE supports another initiative, New Beginnings, which is a collaborative effort between labor and management to build a better personnel management system and has been endorsed by Congress last year.
DoD’s plan to take the commissaries off budget is also wrong-headed. Not only would it jack up prices for military personnel and their families, it would also impoverish workers, many of whom are military spouses who work there to supplement their meager military salaries.
Another issue of concern was sourcing and workforce management. Pro-contractor witnesses at recent committee hearings have advocated for the revival of the OMB CircularA-76 privatization process—which the Office of Management and Budget acknowledges is flawed, based on reports from the Government Accountability Office and the DoD Inspector General.
Cox said some senators may push for more arbitrary cuts in the civilian workforce, notwithstanding mounting evidence that the best way to reduce overall workforce costs is by substituting civilians for more expensive military and contractor personnel.
He said civilian employees need a champion on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a senator who can make sure his colleagues take seriously issues of concern to civilian employees and at least keep abhorrent provisions out of the defense authorization bill at the committee level so that our enemies are forced to push their agenda out in the open and on the floor.
“I ask that you be our champion,” Cox said.