The House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee included new anti-privatization provisions in its FY08 funding bill, thanks to AFGE West Virginia activists from the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Prisons (BoP), and other agencies, who have worked closely with Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV).
The bill would prevent the use of the costly and controversial OMB Circular A-76 process in BoP. This decision is based on the need to ensure the safety and security of BoP institutions and staff—given the dangerous, and often violent, nature of the prison inmate population detained at BoP institutions. These institutions are operating at a superior performance level, and therefore, it would be totally unwise to change their staffing and operations.
The bill would also prevent the use of the A-76 circular in all agencies funded by the bill until federal employees have the same appeal rights as contractors. Last year, this language was included on the House floor through a bipartisan amendment from Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Walter Jones (R-NC). This year, Chairman Mollohan included the language in the base of the bill. The House FY08 Defense Authorization Bill (Section 329) and the House FY08 Financial Services Appropriations Bill (Section 738) also include provisions to provide federal employees with appeal rights. Currently, contractors can appeal to the Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims when they believe agencies have made biased or botched contracting out decisions. However, federal employees have no appeal rights—and the Office of Management and Budget has strenuously fought all bipartisan efforts to rectify this longstanding injustice.
“AFGE is very grateful to Chairman Mollohan and his leadership on these important privatization issues,” declared AFGE National President John Gage. “AFGE members should give their West Virginia brothers and sisters big hugs and shots of their favorite hard liquor the next time they see them for bringing these important issues to Chairman Mollohan’s attention. We will work to defend them on the floor. And we look forward to working with Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), an unrivaled champion of federal employees, to retain these provisions in conference.”
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.