WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today the Department of Defense (DoD) is expected to unveil the details of its new personnel system, which was developed without consideration of issues of concern to the unions that represent the department’s civilian employees.
While reserving judgment on the new regulations until their official publication, AFGE National President John Gage said, “Nothing in these new work rules can change the fact that the Pentagon has violated the law in moving ahead with a system configured without the ‘meaningful collaboration’ with the unions that Congress has demanded.
“We expressed our concerns to DoD and OPM representatives on five key issues,” Gage continued, “only to be told that the administration had already arrived at its own position, essentially refusing to even discuss, in any meaningful way, these issues of great importance to civilian workers in the Department of Defense.”
AFGE’s recommendations on the five “flashpoint issues” Gage cited are:
• Create objective standards for performance appraisals and allow arbitration appeals before neutral third parties • Implement strong and unambiguous safeguards to prevent a lowering of pay • Restore the scope of collective bargaining • Allow labor-management disputes to be settled by a board independent of DoD management • Create procedures for Reductions in Force (RIFs) that base a worker’s fate on more than his/her last performance review.
”By acting unilaterally, in defiance of the U.S. Congress,” Gage concluded, “the government has left us no alternative but to pursue justice through the courts.”
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.