Legislation would safeguard DoD workers’ bargaining rights, extend parental leave benefits to excluded feds, close locality pay gaps for Wage Grade workers, reverse and prohibit arbitrary DoD workforce cuts, prohibit military base closures, provide oversight on DoD medical reorganization
WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees thanks lawmakers in the House and Senate for including provisions in their versions of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will improve working conditions for federal employees in the Department of Defense and across government.
“Supporting federal workers and the services they provide to the American public should not be a partisan issue, and we are encouraged by the bipartisan support for many of the workforce provisions included in this year’s Defense authorization bill,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said. “As the House and Senate begin work to reconcile their versions of the bill, we hope this spirit of cooperation will ensure that these critical workforce provisions are included in the final legislation.”
Several AFGE-backed provisions are included in the House version of the NDAA, which passed 295-125 on July 21. These measures would:
- Prevent the Department of Defense from stripping civilian workers of their collective bargaining rights;
- Prohibit federal employees under the Wage Grade system from receiving smaller locality pay adjustments than General Schedule employees working in the same location by allowing only one local wage area within a GS pay locality;
- Prohibit DoD from cutting the civilian workforce without assessing the impact of such cuts on workload, military force structure, lethality, readiness, and operational effectiveness – complimenting language in the DoD appropriations bill that prohibits the misuse of term or temporary hiring authorities for enduring functions;
- Establish a governance framework for improving interagency coordination on the production, distribution, and pricing of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), and testing kits through enhanced reporting and auditing of Executive Branch implementation of the Defense Production Act to combat the coronavirus pandemic – mirroring a provision included in the HEROES Act;
- Extend 12 weeks of paid parental leave to employees who were inadvertently omitted from the benefit when it was first approved by Congress last year, including employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Federal Aviation Administration;
- Pause DoD’s plans to merge commissaries and exchanges by requiring submission of a revised business case to Congress that addresses flaws in the Defense Resale Task Force’s assumptions on savings and investment costs; and
- Pause DoD’s medical reorganization through 2025 by establishing a framework for ensuring military medical treatment facilities are not downsized in a way that would reduce the quality of care of beneficiary populations.
The Senate version of the NDAA, which passed 86-14 on July 23, includes a provision that would protect military bases from being eliminated by preventing DoD from executing another round of its Base Realignment and Closure process.
In addition, both the House and Senate bills would reverse arbitrary workforce and budget cuts at some DoD defense agencies that had been made by the Defense secretary, including at the Defense Contract Management Agency.