(Washington) - Last March, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) became one of the first groups to issue a vote of no confidence against Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Today, as the union which represents hundreds of thousands of civilian defense workers, we welcome Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation and the acknowledgement that a fresh perspective is needed at the Pentagon. As Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld chose to eviscerate the rights and livelihoods of loyal, hard-working civilian defense workers through implementation of the ill-conceived and divisive National Security Personnel System (NSPS).
AFGE led a coalition of unions in successfully suing the Pentagon in federal court to stop implementation of NSPS. However, that didn’t stop Rumsfeld, and DoD defiantly forged ahead and appealed the judge’s ruling.
In September, AFGE and its union coalition partners filed an opposition brief in response to DoD’s decision to appeal the court’s ruling. At this point, the future of NSPS is uncertain. Oral arguments regarding DoD’s appeal are scheduled for mid-December. However, what is certain is that with the resignation of Rumsfeld, DoD civilian employees now have hope that a new secretary will work in a bipartisan way to ensure that the DoD civilian employees who work to defend this nation are treated with the dignity and fairness they deserve.