( WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees, the nation’s largest federal employees union, today said it is angered, frustrated, and perplexed that the Defense Business Board (DBB) determined that the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) created under the Bush administration warrants further consideration.
In a letter to the review board, AFGE National President John Gage wrote, “We believe that the DBB got the diagnosis right: they found NSPS to be a sick system with nothing positive and a great many things negative about it. It is unconscionable that after acknowledging its fatal flaws the Task Group would recommend anything other than completely terminating the system. ”
The Task Group found that the system was fundamentally flawed, mirroring many of the assertions made by AFGE about the systems lack of transparency and inherent discrimination. However, rather than calling for its full termination, the Task Group recommended that it be reconstructed from scratch.
While most of the 200,000 civilian defense employees the union represents are immune from the system, thanks to congressional action last year, NSPS continues to undercut the ability of the DoD employees forced to work under it. “A steady stream of DoD managers and supervisors have told us that NSPS is unfair, dishonest and ineffective,” Gage said. “Furthermore, we know that those under the system suffer from low morale and lower productivity.
“Congress already put several nails into the coffin of NSPS. We had hoped the Obama administration would make quick work of restoring the civil service system and put an end to this costly albatross,” Gage added. “We wonder why DoD isn’t holding those responsible for NSPS accountable and terminating them for this colossal failure.
“NSPS was the brainchild of the right wing Neocons at the Heritage Foundation. It was advanced into law as a result of some very misleading proposals submitted by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which were designed to end employee civil service rights and the right to collective bargaining,” Gage said. “In 2008 Congress sent a clear message expressing that NSPS was a wrongheaded system when it effectively restored workplace rights and required DoD to keep bargaining unit members out of NSPS.
“This system has cost millions of dollars. It does not make sense to reinvent the wheel. The people and the resources needed to support our armed services are too valuable,” said Gage.
A study by AFGE of payout data provided by DoD has led the union to believe that there is significant discrimination throughout NSPS. A May 2009 DoD internal evaluation found that, as a group, employees making less than $60,000 had a net loss under NSPS, while those making more, especially those making more than $80,000, received the highest payouts. In essence, the employees making the least were funding the raises of those making the most. As a result of the inherent discriminatory nature of NSPS, AFGE is considering moving forward with a possible class-action lawsuit against DoD. For more information on AFGE’s fight against the National Security Personnel System visit www.defenseworkers.orgAFGE Letter to Defense Business Board