FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2002
Magda Lynn Seymour
John Irvine
(202) 639-6419

The Devil is in the Homeland Security Details

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)--The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) submitted testimony before Congress yesterday outlining its opposition to the Bush Administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal, H.R. 5005.

"Tucked inside the Bush Administration's 35-page bill is a 68-word sentence that has raised serious concerns for federal employees and their unions," outlined National President Bobby L. Harnage in testimony he submitted to the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Section 730 grants authority to the Bush Administration to exempt DHS employees from Title 5 civil service protections and collective bargaining rights.

"The right to organize and bargain collectively is critical to the success of DHS's overall mission," stated Harnage. "Union representation allows federal employees to speak out about problems they see on the job without fear of retribution from their superiors. Such freedom will give Congress and the American people important insight into DHS's effectiveness in making our nation more secure from terrorists.

"No one is more interested in making their homeland secure than the dedicated men and women of the federal government who put their lives on the line everyday of the year," added Harnage. "In order to keep these employees--and recruit and retain others like them--Title 5 civil service protections and collective bargaining rights need to be preserved in the new Department of Homeland Security."

For a complete copy of AFGE's testimony, log onto www.afge.org.

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