(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today held a rally protesting the loss of hundreds of jobs throughout the agency. The Department of Labor (DoL) employees’ union is fighting the privatization scheme that has cost hundreds of federal employees their jobs and benefits. Federal employees across the Metro area have been subjected to this costly privatization ploy, which favors private contractors by forcing federal employees to undervalue their job functions to compete for work they are already performing.
“The dedicated employees of the DoL should be able to focus completely on the job of accomplishing the department’s mission,” said John Gage AFGE national president, “instead of worrying about the latest costly and controversial Office Management and Budget A-76 boondoggle.”
Equally disturbing is that this costly privatization process, known as A-76, is being administered in a way which disproportionately affects minority employees, jeopardizing the jobs of the qualified, dedicated federal workforce. Recently 250 administrative jobs were eliminated across the DoL, in the less than equitable competition process. The affected positions were overwhelmingly held by African-American women, but the privatization process threatens all agency employees by undervaluing their professional expertise and commitment.
The privatization process is touted as a cost saving measure by its proponents, but it has yet to be proven that privatizing federal jobs actually saves money or increases efficiency. In fact, since 2004 federal employees in the DoL have been challenged 26 times in public-private competitions. They have won all but three competitions because they have placed an unrealistic, diminished value on their level of expertise. This has resulted in these victorious employees being downgraded. While these victories clearly display the superior quality of the federal workforce, the department has refused to seek alternatives to the A-76 process.
Recently, Sen. Byrd (D-W.Va) protected hundreds of employees in the DoL’s Mine Health and Safety Administration by including language in the Defense appropriations bill declaring these employees “inherently governmental” and exempt from privatization. AFGE encourages other members of Congress to follow suit and implement a Department wide prohibition on contracting out. ““Ultimately, the best way to deal with the privatization at DoL will be to implement a department wide prohibition on contracting out,” added Gage.