House Armed Services Committee Strikes Down New DoD Personnel System, Thanks to AFGE Efforts
(WASHINGTON) - The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents the largest number of DoD civilian employees, today lauded the leadership of the House Armed Services Committee for its bipartisan repudiation of the National Security System (NSPS).
The committee approved an amendment by Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) that restored bargaining and appeal rights for civilian DoD employees. The measure had wide bipartisan support and comes two years after AFGE and nine other unions filed a successful lawsuit where a federal judge found that the Defense Department overreached in attempts to dismantle the current personnel system.
John Gage, national president, said “The committee took the opportunity today to repair the damage inflicted by the department’s misguided personnel system. Instead of making improvements, DoD insisted on creating a system which eliminated collected bargaining rights, virtually eliminated an employee’s right to appeal a serious disciplinary action to an independent party, and set the stage for lowering employees’ standard of living by suppressing wage adjustments.
The amendment to strike down NSPS was included during markup of the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill. The bill also includes an amendment by Congresswoman Nancy Boyda (D-KS) which dramatically reforms the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) privatization process – a process which led to the Walter Reed contracting out fiasco.
Proposed reforms in the Boyda amendment include: appeal rights for federal employees who might lose their jobs should the work be contracted out, elimination of automatic recompetitions which allow contractors to bid again on proposals they lost and the elimination of OMB privatization quotas that ensure that a certain amount of work goes to contractors.
The Boyda amendment also calls for a 90-day suspension on all current privatization studies in order for DoD officials to determine if these efforts would have been undertaken without OMB pressure.
“Both of these amendments if passed would create a more level playing field for the nation’s dedicated federal employees, many of whom have served in the armed services previously,” said Gage.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 750,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.