September 02, 2021

Tim Kauffman

[email protected]

AFGE Applauds Inclusion of Pro-Worker Provisions in Defense Bill

Categories: DoD

Measures improving workers’ pay, job security highlight House Armed Services Committee markup of NDAA

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is applauding the inclusion of numerous pro-worker provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed out of the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday.

AFGE advocated for the inclusion of these provisions on behalf of the 700,000 federal and D.C. government employees AFGE represents, including 300,000 in the Department of Defense. 

“These measures will directly improve workers’ pay and job security and signify the critical role of civilian employees in serving our troops and maintaining our national defense,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said.

The key pro-worker provisions included in the NDAA will:

  • Equalize local pay boundaries for most salaried and hourly federal employees. This provision makes sure that the government treats all employees who work in a given location equitably in terms of pay. Currently, some federal employees who work side-by-side in the exact same location are paid as if they work in different localities.
  • Restore the one-year probationary period for new employees in the Department of Defense, ensuring they are treated the same as most other federal workers.
  • Repeal changes to reduction in force rules applied to DoD workers in 2017 that reduced the role of seniority and veterans’ preference when determining which employees are retained, applying to DoD employees the same RIF procedures in effect for other federal workers.
  • Clarify previously approved language that prohibits the use of arbitrary personnel caps when determining the number of employees needed to carry out mission requirements.
  • Prohibit the use of appropriated funds for hiring term or temp workers for enduring functions.
  • Require senior officials to complete and certify a checklist ensuring that statements of work and task orders submitted to contracting officers comply with longstanding statutes that prevent replacing DoD civilian employees with contractors, subject to annual DoD Inspector General reviews, and require that service contract budgets comply with these requirements.
  • Revive reporting requirements on situations in which military members are pulled from training assignments or operational units to replace civilian employees and contractors, which is known as borrowed military manpower, and ensure its adverse effects on readiness reports to Congress are captured.
  • Allow federal firefighters to trade shifts across multiple pay periods without decreasing their regular pay or triggering overtime pay requirements, ensuring that firehouses maintain staffing requirements and can keep communities safe while enabling firefighters to meet personal obligations without having to use annual leave.

In addition to the pro-worker language included in the NDAA, AFGE also was successful in preventing the inclusion of some recommendations from the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service that would have harmed the merit system by introducing subjective pay systems, substandard health care benefits, and expanded use of term and temporary hiring.

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