May 12, 2003
Diane Witiak
(202) 639-6419

AFGE Launches Radio Campaign at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to Stop Pentagon Bill

The Pentagon’s dangerous proposal (H.R. 1836) to dismantle the long-standing tradition of civil service in the Department of Defense (DoD) is the target of an ad campaign launched today by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)—the largest federal employee union—representing some 200,000 Department of Defense civilian federal employees.

The radio ad, airing in areas surrounding the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, alerts DoD employees and the public to legislation calling for the complete restructuring of the DoD which is being jammed through Congress without taking the proper time to review such a sweeping bill. Some 2,500 civilian federal employees working at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard would be impacted by this irresponsible bill.

“Congress must not abrogate its responsibility to the public and the over 700,000 federal employees who work for the Defense Department,” stated AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr. “Rushing this legislation through Congress and giving DoD carte blanche, to do as it wishes without regard for its workforce or the public, will not make our nation safer. Instead, it will further destroy the environment around military facilities, impacting all that live near these bases, while returning the civil service to a patronage system where employees are hired, fired, paid and promoted based on the likes and dislikes of their supervisors rather than merit.”

Radio ads are also running in the surrounding areas of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Redstone Arsenal, Anniston Army Depot, Norfolk Naval Base and the D.C. Metropolitan area.

“No Secretary of Defense should be above the law,” added Harnage. “DoD’s legislation amounts to nothing more than giving Secretaries of Defense the power to decide which laws and regulations they’d rather do without—even exempting DoD from current environmental and public health laws that protect the air and water in and around our military facilities and the health of the people who live nearby. Further, the Defense Department wants to eliminate the law that requires DoD to buy American-made products, jeopardizing the employment of many Americans.”

The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, represents some 600,000 government employees nationwide. Both the script and audio of AFGE’s radio ads are available on the union’s Web site.

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