Broad Coalition Calls on Bush Administration to Halt Plans to Privatize Government Services
Washington, D.C.—A coalition 73 of labor unions, social service groups, nonprofit organizations and employee coalitions from 30 states has called on Congress to stop Bush Administration plans to overhaul the privatization of government services. The coalition is concerned about plans by the Office of Management and Budget to rewrite OMB Circular A-76 in a way that it will make it easier for private companies to receive government contracts.
“The effort to sale government to big business cannot continue –particularly when it deals with privatizing public services which are inherently governmental,” said John Gage, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees which is a member of the coalition and represents some 600,000 federal workers. “This new option being pushed by the Bush Administration would accelerate a process which we believe will have a detrimental impact on services to the American people,” he added.
“Contracting out seriously undermines the effectiveness of a wide range of federal programs within the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration,” said Gage. “It has not been shown to save taxpayers money but in fact removes the rights of Americans to be stakeholders in the running of their government.”
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) claimed that contracting out government work provided substantial savings, citing studies from the Center for Naval Analysis, the RAND Corporation, and one funded by the IBM Endowment for the Business of Government. However a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute by EPI economist Max Sawicky, shows that the administration’s cost-savings claims for its privatization plan are unfounded.
AFGE is part of a coalition which includes the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Americans for Democratic Action, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Blacks in Government Communications Workers of America, Consumer Federation of America, Critical Mass Energy Project, Catholic Charities, Social/Rural Life Department, Friends of the Earth, Grassroots Leadership Project, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Jobs for Justice, League of Conservation Voters, Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, NAACP, National Family Farm Coalition, National Treasury Employees Union, National Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Professional Airways Systems Specialists, Progressive Majority, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Rural Coalition, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, U.S. Action, United Auto Workers Union, and 30 AFL-CIO state councils.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.