WASHINGTON – A little more than a year ago, the American Federation of Government Employees asked President Obama to end the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) because the way agencies implemented the program circumvented competitive hiring rules for federal employment and denied new employees their rights under the law. AFGE is pleased that Obama has replaced the FCIP with a more narrowly focused program to attract recent college graduates.
“By revising this program as AFGE requested, President Obama is signaling his commitment to upholding civil service rules and procedures that have been in place since the late 1800s,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “Agencies should not be allowed to do an end run around competitive hiring rules for any reason or seek to deny employees the protections of the merit system process. We are cautiously optimistic that these abusive practices will no longer be tolerated.”
AFGE vigorously pursued an end to the FCIP because of its rampant abuse by federal managers and the program’s failure to comply with competitive hiring rules established under Title 5 of the U.S. Code.
In November 2009, AFGE outlined its long-held objections to the intern program in a letter to Obama and urged the president to eliminate the existing FCIP. In June 2010, AFGE urged the Merit Systems Protection Board to strike down the FCIP as it considered two appeals cases challenging the program. In November 2010, the MSPB ruled that the FCIP violates competitive hiring and veterans preference rules.
“We are hopeful that this new order strikes a better balance between the government’s hiring needs and employee rights. We look forward to reviewing and commenting on the new regulations that OPM must now issue to implement the order’s Pathways programs,” Gage said.