October 20, 2003
Enid Doggett
Diane Witiak
(202) 639-6421/6422

AFGE President Outlines Union's Goals for DHS Personnel Review Process

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The president of AFGE, the nation's largest union of federal workers, today outlined specific proposals he hopes will ultimately determine a cohesive personnel system for the Department of Homeland Security.

John Gage, president of the union which represents 600,000 workers, nearly one-sixth of whom work in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said he hoped the DHS personnel process will continue to be fair. Gage, as well as representatives from the DHS and the Office of Personnel Management and other union leaders, are meeting this week (October 20 - October 22) in Washington, D.C at the Almas Temple.

Gage specifically asked for the following:

· Union membership and collective bargaining rights for all non-management DHS employees.

· An independent panel to settle collective bargaining impasses so that fairness is insured.

· Any changes in the current general schedule (GS) system should be made to enhance the current system.

· A third party appeals process for employees to contest management actions.

Gage also called on the DHS personnel design team to abandon plans for a pay for performance system that he said would only waste taxpayer money. "This system has been tried before; there is no evidence it works and we should not invest taxpayer money and disrupt agency work to evaluate systems that don't ensure maximum effectiveness," said Gage.

Gage also added that he was pleased that Admiral James Loy, director of the Transportation Security Administration which is under DHS, was part of the committee. Presently TSA is exempt from the personnel system under consideration. AFGE represents some 1,000 TSA screeners with 9,500 who have expressed interest in joining the union.

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