2 May 2005
Today the AFGE Task Force members broke off into counter-proposal writing teams. The day was spent in the various areas of the proposed regulation with UDWC unions developing a clear unified plan! The next meet and confer meeting begins on Tuesday morning.
We've beenreceiving E-mails from all over the country providing feedback to our daily updates. If you don't get responses from your council presidents or representatives that send you the updates then please let us know. We understand that multiple sources are being used for sending daily information and we are working towards eliminating the redundancies, but our main purpose in providing you the information is to get the word out to as much of the work force as possible. If there is a little overkill, be patient. Also, should you choose to reply to a mass email, please limit your comments to the sender and then this person will forward the comments to us. Thank you.
After rolling up our sleeves today emphasis within the UDWC was placed on two areas. The coalition determined a DOD/OPM failure to adequately respond in detail to 12 questions posed in writing pertaining to Subpart C needs to be immediately addressed. In order for dialogue to continue in this area clarification is also required. Be assured, understanding the laws and their intent as they pertain to each other is being worked on. The other main concern is the budget based system that DOD presents as pay for performance lacks merit without protection. In order to make meaning of this pay for performance, the scope of bargaining needs to be stressed. Although the law allows DOD to change the pay system, all formulas for pay have not been clearly presented. Our goal is to make the system fair with procedures used or yard sticks to measure performance.
We want DOD to be held accountable so we are about to include their quotes in our daily reports!
UDWC estimated the total cost of NSPS to be well into theBillions, this being taken from DOD Agencies where needed funds should be used for war cost and supplies.
National level bargaining was again brought up within the coalition. Coordinated Bargaining where cooperated efforts by two or more unions are aimed at collective bargaining. If DOD by the unions meaning is unified/uniform anywhere it is process it in the caucus's involving this area. A great deal of the Federal Regulation section under 9901.918 and 919 was scrutinized.
DEFCON LINES OF DEFENSE'S
National President John Gage, in conjunction with the NSPS DEFCON Task Force, recently developed the following last lines of our defense
Performance appraisals will be the crucial determinant of salary, salary adjustment, and job security under NSPS. Yet under the proposed regulations, not only is there no requirement for management to present written standards against which performance will be measured, but employees are also denied the right, available to all current federal employees, including those under the new Homeland Security Personnel System, to use a negotiated grievance and arbitration system to present evidence to an impartial body that their performance appraisals are inaccurate.
These inequities must be rectified in order for NSPS to meet the principle affirmed by the Congress, the Comptroller General, and several experts that the performance management systems that underlie "performance-based" personnel systems be "transparent," "accountable," and perceived as fair and credible by employees.
DoD has proposed radically reducing the scope of collective bargaining in the proposed regulations. First, the proposed NSPS effectively eliminates collective bargaining by greatly expanding the management rights clause as compared to current law, thereby rendering most previously negotiable issues to be "off the table." Second, DoD will be able to unilaterally override provisions of collective bargaining agreements by issuing either component-wide or Department-wide "issuances."
The scope of bargaining must be restored so that the very institution of collective bargaining can continue to exist in DoD. The proposed regulations do not follow the law with respect to its instructions to maintain collective bargaining rights for affected DoD employees. When the legislation authorizing NSPS was under consideration by Congress, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld assured the Congress that his only intent with regard to collective bargaining was to establish national-level bargaining over most issues. The NSPS draft rules make a mockery of collective bargaining and the resulting agreements.
The board that hears labor-management disputes arising from NSPS must be independent of DoD management. In the proposed NSPS regulations, DoD would establish an internal board made up entirely of individuals appointed by the Secretary. Such a board would have no independence or credibility, and would therefore fail to meet the standards set forth by the Comptroller General for transparency, fairness, and credibility.
In addition, Secretary Rumsfeld promised the Congress prior to the enactment of the law authorizing the establishment of NSPS that any board established to hear disputes arising from NSPS would be independent. Although there is no rationale for DoD to have an internal labor board which duplicates the functions and costs of the Federal Labor Relations Authority; if it must exist, it is absolutely critical that it be entirely separate and distinct from DoD management.
The standard for mitigation by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) of discipline and penalties imposed on employees under NSPS in the proposed regulations is virtually impossible to meet and effectively removes the possibility of mitigation. DoD must change the standard from "wholly unjustified" to "unreasonable," the court imposed standard established over 25 years ago, in order for employees to have a meaningful right to have adverse actions mitigated by the MSPB.
Further and in contrast to current law, the proposed NSPS adds additional bureaucratic delay by declaring that adverse action arbitrations will no longer be final and binding. Instead, they will have to be reviewed by the MSPB, thereby reducing the rule and power of arbitrators, which is entirely insupportable and contrary to Congressional intent. Since DoD wins close to 90% of its current MSPB cases, there is simply no justification for eliminating a fair adjudicative process for employee appeals.
The proposed regulations permit a general reduction in salaries for all DoD personnel compared to rates they would have been paid under statutory systems. An ability to reduce entry level salaries, in addition to an ability to refuse annual adjustment of salaries for those who perform satisfactorily, as permitted in the draft regulations, will by definition conspire to reduce DoD salaries generally.
Strong and unambiguous safeguards must be in place to prevent a general lowering of pay for the DoD civilian workforce. Consequently, there must be constraints on the ability of DoD to lower salaries or withhold salary adjustments generally. These safeguards must be established not only to protect the living standards of the civilian DoD workforce relative to the rest of the federal workforce, but also to guarantee the ongoing economic vitality of communities with DoD installations.
Procedures for deciding who will be affected by a Reduction in Force (RIF) must be based on more than a worker's most recent performance appraisal. The proposed NSPS regulation would allow an employee with one year of service and an outstanding rating to have superior retention rights to an employee with 30 years of outstanding appraisals and one year of having been rated merely "above average." Such RIF rules are patently unfair and must not be allowed to stand.