WASHINGTON – As the Secretary of Defense prepares to announce the first phase of personnel reforms to military and civilian employees, the largest federal employee union is reminding the Pentagon of its obligation to consult with labor over proposed changes to the civilian personnel system.
The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 250,000 DoD civilian workers, says the Pentagon has been slow to respond to its questions and concerns about how the proposed Force of the Future plan would impact civilian employees.
“The Department of Defense has an obligation under the law to engage with AFGE and other labor unions over these proposed changes, which could impact how civilian employees are paid, managed, promoted, and disciplined,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
“Unfortunately, DoD has not yet addressed our concerns or even answered our questions. This is a disservice to the employees who will be impacted and to the taxpayers who will be footing the bill for these reforms.”
AFGE was told only yesterday that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to announce the first phase of the Force of the Future initiative during an address at George Washington University this afternoon.
The initial proposal released by the Pentagon in August contained proposals that were disturbingly similar to failed reforms under the George W. Bush administration that AFGE fought against for years. Congress eventually struck down those reforms, called the National Security Personnel System, after it was revealed that the system discriminated against women and minority employees.
“AFGE will vigorously fight any proposal that attempts to revive failed policies from the past that demoralized employees, allowed managers to discriminate against workers, and wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars,” Cox said. “We are waiting for the Pentagon to explain why these reforms are needed and how they will not repeat the mistakes from the past.”