AFGE Issues Statement Regarding Corps of Engineers Decision to Abandon A-76 Privatization Review of Locks and Dams
(Washington)—The American Federation of Government Employees issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to abandon its planned OMB Circular A-76 privatization review of 2,000 Corps of Engineers employees:
“American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) members in the Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) should be proud of their successful effort to stop an OMB Circular A-76 privatization review of the 2,000 employees who operate, maintain and repair the nation’s locks and dams.
“For two years, at the urging of AFGE members, the Congress has denied CoE the funding necessary to carry out this privatization review. In fact, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Water Subcommittee, included report language in the FY07 funding bill which cut off money for all CoE A-76 privatization reviews.
“In response to this bipartisan opposition, CoE has abandoned its locks and dams privatization study. This change is even more extraordinary given that CoE had been instructed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to conduct the study in 2002 as part of the administration’s infamous numerical privatization quotas. The quotas, which were subsequently prohibited, became so discredited that the OMB ostensibly repudiated them
“Instead, CoE will subject its locks and dams functions to a High Performing Organization (HPO) review over the next 18 months, which, according to CoE management, involves ‘looking at current processes and re-engineering them to make them more efficient and effective.’ CoE management maintains ‘that while some work processes may change, no operation and maintenance employees are at risk of losing their jobs.’
“Nevertheless, AFGE CoE members will be following the process closely to ensure that any re-engineering efforts don’t undermine the safety and security of the locks and dams or the employment rights and status of the dedicated and experienced employees who have kept the locks and dams safe and secure. In fact, AFGE members intend to participate vigorously in the HPO process. After all, nobody knows better how to make the locks and dams as effective and efficient as they are safe and secure as CoE’s rank-and-file locks and dams personnel.
“However, if the HPO would compromise the safety and security of the locks and dams or punish the locks and dams workforce, AFGE members will work with their lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, to shut it down—just as surely as they shut down the privatization review. AFGE is hopeful that CoE management will work cooperatively with us on this matter.
“AFGE is the only federal employees union to have shut down wasteful and disruptive privatization reviews across the federal government—from the loan specialists at the Department of Agriculture to the inventory experts at the Department of Commerce to the immigration officers at the Department of Homeland Security to the locks and dams operators and technicians in the Army Corps of Engineers.”