AFGE Continues to Fight Outsourcing at Sheppard Air Force Base
(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) announced today that it will appeal the Air Force’s decision to outsource federal work at Sheppard Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Texas. AFGE will file a complaint on behalf of the employees at Sheppard Air Force base with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) citing that the cost-comparison or “A-76” study violated procurement law by exceeding statutory time limits. Congress limits such studies to 30 months, but the Sheppard study has been ongoing for the past 5 years, wreaking havoc on employee morale and carelessly wasting tax payer dollars.
“The competition should have been canceled a long time ago. Sheppard Air Force base never needed the A-76 to realign the positions needed to free up the war-fighter or to save tax payer money. After 9 years of competition more resources have been wasted through this fiasco than could have ever been gained,” said Gary Johnson, president of AFGE Local 779. “It’s clear that they never intended to conduct a fair study; the real goal of the entire process was to hand our jobs over to private contractors.”
The Air Force first started the privatization review in 1999 with the stated goals of (1) increasing efficiency and (2) freeing up military personnel for war-fighting functions. The Air Force then hired a contractor to assist them in conducting the first privatization study and devoted thousands of military and civilian work hours to the effort. The study continued until December 2001, when it was canceled because of conflict of interest concerns across the Air Force’s A-76 program.
However, instead of utilizing the information gathered during the previous two years to implement changes and address its initial objectives, the Air Force shelved the work and renewed the study in October 2003. Now the Air Force is moving forward in contracting out civil engineering at the installation and handing over 180 federal jobs to a private contractor.
“Our members on the base are angry, frustrated and scared,” said Johnson. “These employees have made every conceivable sacrifice a civilian employee can make for the Air Force and now they are just going to be tossed out.”
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.