Hundreds Rallied Against Proposed Federal Personnel Changes
Homeland Security Workers Questions Impact on Whistleblower Protections and Morale
WHAT: Federal Employees Rallied Against Proposed Personnel Changes WHERE: Ronald Reagan Building 14th Street entrance, near Constitution Avenue WHEN: Thursday, May 12, Noon
WASHINGTON – Hundred of federal employees rallied against a movement to redesign federal work rules in ways that they say would strip them of whistleblower protections and lower morale through the federal government. For about two years, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been in the process of developing new personnel systems. Despite the fact that neither system has been finalized, never mind implemented or evaluated for effectiveness, some members of Congress and representatives of think tanks have called for redesign efforts to be expanded to the rest of the federal government.
Federal employees say that Congress was sold on the changes based upon alleged national security needs, yet federal employees question how national security will be served when the new systems could eliminate day-to-day protections for whistleblowers and lower morale among the workforce.
"How will national security be served when morale takes a nosedive among the employees who protect our borders and support our troops? How will it serve the American people when federal employees do not dare blow the whistle on wrongdoing within the government because unions are powerless to protect them?" asked Avis Buchanan, president of AFGE Council 1, which represents federal workers in the DC area. Buchanan also pointed out that national security arguments do not hold for other federal agencies.
The rally followed an annual memorial service conducted by the Customs and Border Protection division of DHS for fallen law enforcement officers, which begun at 11 AM.
"I can think of a thousand better ways to honor the memory of fallen colleagues than to strip current federal workers, including federal law enforcement officers, of workplace protections, adequate training and a sense of fairness on the job." said Charles Showalter, president of AFGE’s Homeland Security Council, which represents customs and border protection officers that secure our nations ports of entry.
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.