FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2016

Contact:
Tim Kauffman

202-639-6405/202-374-6491
tim.kauffman@afge.org

House Committee Continues Assault on Workers’ Rights, Union Says

Categories: Workers Rights

The House committee charged with overseeing the federal workforce passed bills on Tuesday that would strip hardworking employees of long-held rights and protections.

Government Reform Committee passes bills to strip federal employees of due process rights

WASHINGTON – The House committee charged with overseeing the federal workforce passed bills on Tuesday that would strip hardworking employees of long-held rights and protections.

“By bringing up these ill-conceived bills just two weeks into the new year, it’s clear that House leadership is going to continue pursuing an anti-worker agenda,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed bills that would double the probationary period for new employees and allow managers to permanently alter an employee’s personnel file with adverse actions taken after the employee has left the job.

“These bills would punish the whole workforce for the potential actions of a few and would undermine basic principles of due process that have been in place for decades,” Cox said.

The committee deferred action on two other bills, one that would artificially limit how much time an employee facing disciplinary action could be placed on administrative leave and another that would give managers unfettered ability to discipline employees under the guise of IT security.

AFGE outlined its opposition to the bills in a Jan. 11 letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

The bills would:

  • Extend the probationary period for all federal employees to at least two years, which is unneeded since managers currently have at least a year to assess a new employee’s performance and can immediately remove any employee for serious misconduct;
  • Allow managers to include in an employee’s personnel file permanent notations about adverse findings made after an employee has resigned and require that agencies consider those findings before rehiring the employee, which could hinder agency settlements of disciplinary actions and raises questions about how agencies would access this information;
  • Limit the use of administrative leave related to alleged misconduct or performance to 14 total days, which could force an employee to go months without getting paid since agencies complete few if any investigations within 14 days;
  • Give agencies the sole and exclusive authority to take any action necessary against federal employees related to IT security, which would undermine collective bargaining agreements and overturn an existing Federal Labor Relations Authority decision.

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