(WASHINGTON)— The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Field Services Department recently began training AFGE members on the new National Security Personnel System (NSPS). NSPS is the new, comprehensive personnel management plan for Department of Defense civilians. To prepare AFGE members for changes that the new system will bring, the Field Services Department has developed a three-day NSPS training that explains what NSPS is, how it became law, and what it means to AFGE members, as well as training on how to represent members and bargain new and existing contracts under the new rules.
“Members are very eager for more information because the Department of Defense isn’t giving them much information,” said Sarah J. Starrett, Field Services Attorney. The Field Services Department has conducted training in the following cities within the last three weeks: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and San Diego, Calif., and Springfield, Mo., with additional sites scheduled for March and April. “Our members are very interested in the new pay system. They have been very enthusiastic and receptive to this NSPS training,” added Starrett.
AFGE has also been working directly with DoD to critique the design of the new NSPS Performance Management System. Once it is fully implemented, NSPS will eliminate the old general schedule (GS) classifications, position descriptions, rating systems and pay systems. The current performance rating system has been pulled, and a revised edition will be released in the next few days, after which AFGE will meet with DoD to discuss the changes. Under the new NSPS Pay Management System, employees will no longer receive cost of living adjustments, within-grade increases, locality pay, special rates or quality step increases.
Beginning in April, the system will apply to certain non-bargaining unit members. It will be applied to some AFGE members beginning in October 2006, and to others in 2007 and 2008. Eventually, all DoD employees are scheduled to be under NSPS.
Although AFGE is training members on the new NSPS, it also filed suit in court to block portions of the new system. The lawsuit asserts that NSPS illegally eliminates collective bargaining rights, and sets up one-sided and unfair appeals systems for both labor relations and adverse action appeals. A decision is expected by the end of February.
Training materials and a listing of upcoming training sessions will be available soon at www.defenseworkers.org.