(WASHINGTON)—AFGE National President John Gage today testified before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce on the Working for America Act. The WFAA would impose personnel changes throughout the federal government akin to proposed personnel rules for the departments of Homeland Security and Defense. AFGE argued that the WFAA would be detrimental to the morale of the civilian workforce—especially in the critical areas of law enforcement, homeland security and national defense—because of a so-called pay for performance system that would pit workers against one another. AFGE also took issue with WFAA provisions that would all but eliminate the union protections that allow federal workers to act as public interest watch dogs.
Gage declared in his testimony that:
“Productivity does not go up with pay for performance. Employee satisfaction does not go up with pay for performance. Accountability does not go up with pay for performance. Costs do not go down with pay for performance. Accomplishment of mission does not improve with pay for performance. And prohibiting workers from having union representation also does not improve productivity, employee satisfaction, accountability, cost control or accomplishment of mission.”
Gage noted that the WFAA likely would increase cronyism at all levels of the federal government because the legislation would “eliminate several mechanisms for holding agency managers and political appointees accountable for how they treat the federal workforce, in terms of the way that workforce is selected, retained, disciplined, terminated, managed and paid.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.