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Federal Workers Protest Personnel Crackdown

Federal Workers Protest Personnel Crackdown

Federal Defense Department (DoD) workers and their unions, including IAM/NFFE Federal District 1, are banding together to protest the Bush Administration’s sweeping changes in the federal personnel system that will weaken worker rights and collective bargaining protections for the majority of DoD’s 770,000 civilian workers.

The United DoD Workers Coalition, which includes 36 unions who represent DoD civilian employees, held a press conference and marched to Capitol Hill to call attention to the new National Security Personnel System (NSPS) that eliminates most traditional collective bargaining and gives management sole decision-making authority over almost all aspects of a worker’s job, from shift assignment to pay grade. Pay raises will be dependent on performance evaluations by management and a new “market value” assessment of the work. The NSPS eliminates independent third-party review of management actions, including discipline, and puts final authority in the hands of the DoD Secretary or his designees.

“Unions didn’t just appear one day. They were voted in by workers to ensure that they would have a united voice in the workplace,” said IAM/NFFE Federal District 1 President Richard Brown. “The current proposed NSPS plan attempts to silence that voice.”

Similar rules are in the final stages at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Congress originally granted just DHS the right to “reform” personnel rules to give it the flexibility to fight terrorism. Soon after, Congress gave similar authority to the Department of Defense. Now the Bush Administration says it will introduce legislation to give even more federal agencies the same authority.

“These rules aren’t about fighting terrorism. Federal workers will do everything necessary to win that fight,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Theses new rules are about eliminating civil service protections and the unions that give federal workers a voice. It’s criminal that as our U.S. military personnel sacrifice their lives to build free institutions in Iraq, we are taking away basic freedoms for the thousands of dedicated civilian workers who support them.”

IAM/NFFE Federal District 1

United DoD Workers Coaltion

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