(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today challenged the privatization initiative, referred to as an A-76 study, which currently jeopardizes hundreds of jobs at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Department of the Army recently made the decision to outsource more than 300 public works jobs to the private sector through a controversial A-76 cost competition study in late March.
Discussing the West Point privatization initiative at a town hall meeting, AFGE National President John Gage said, “The A-76 studies at West Point are the worst examples of government waste I’ve seen since Walter Reed. This process is broken and it needs to stop right here and right now.”
The West Point privatization review was plagued with problems from the beginning. The Army used an illegal cost-plus contracting method instead of the required fixed price method, which means that the contractor's bill is not limited to any certain amount. In addition, the Army divided the workload into two studies, requiring that the employees bid on them separately. This artificial division greatly disadvantaged the federal employees (and taxpayers) by prohibiting certain efficiencies of scale. The privatization review is also in violation of a federal law that limits A-76 studies to no more than 30 months and prohibits the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from directing the Department of Defense (DoD) to perform these studies. The West Point study has been going on since 2002 and was undertaken to satisfy OMB privatization quotas.
As a result of working under this privatization threat for the past 7 years, employee morale has been devastated and workplace uncertainty is high. Depleted staff levels have increased the burden on military personnel, leaving war-fighters under-supported. AFGE is calling on Congressional leaders to protect the valuable employees at West Point and throughout the Department of the Army where privatization initiatives exploded during the Bush administration.
AFGE is encouraged by and thankful for the work of New York lawmakers, Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Rep. John Hall, who plan to introduce legislative language to prevent the privatization of federal jobs at West Point. AFGE is equally appreciative of similar planned legislation to be introduced by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.