Meet & Confer
This Week's Schedule (Meet and Confer to Run April 18th to May 19th)
Tuesday - 1:30 2:30
Wed No Meeting
Thursday, Friday - TBA
Developments from the May 9th, 10th Meetings -- From the Coalition
Charlie Abell "Intend to strike a balance between employees' interests and mission requirements. We believe our proposal is a happy medium, even though you want to keep the status quo. You have provided three proposals and though they all have merit, we cannot accept them and we are standing on our original position."
Byron Charlton (who Chairs the meeting on behalf of the UDWC) "can you give us an answer in writing?"
Abell "um, um, we will work on it."
Who is Really Calling the Shots on NSPS?
Given the clear indication that management is not following the recommendations laid out by Congress and acting in good faith with respect to the congressionally mandated meet & confer process, the obvious question of who is really calling the shots?' naturally comes to mind. With respect to OPM, it is clear that those particular representatives are fueled by ideology. One need to look no further than the work of George Nesterczuk, who wrote several times for the Heritage Foundation about the dismantling of workers rights and union protections in the federal government.
However, what about the DoD representatives? Mary Lacey, and the Honorable Charlie Abell, as well Bradley Bunn, are all seemingly reasonable people. Could they possibly be the ones who are callously deciding to wholly discount, without even a discussion, the good faith proposals of the UDWC? Or, is it David Chu, who was seemingly removed from taking part in this issue a long time ago, calling the shots?
What is clear, both by developments this week and the enlightening statement by Secretary Abell, is that NSPS really has more to do with the ideological ambitions of a few, and not nearly as much to do with national security.
Are Issuances Inconsistent with the Intent of the Law?
Senator Susan Collins (R, ME), who wrote the authorizing law along with Senator Carl Levin (R, MI), raised serious concerns with respect to issuances during the April 14, 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
When questioning Navy Secretary Gordon England, Senator Collins, who authored the bill, said:
"As I read the regulations, they grant the secretary of defense sole, exclusive and unreviewable discretion to promulgate issuances without employee involvement related to overtime pay and several other important issues.
"And that does seem to me to be inconsistent with the intent of the letter of the law."
Secretary England's response was, "Senator, we will obviously do it in accordance with the underlying law. And if we have this wrong, obviously we'll go back and look at this."
Senator Collins legitimate concerns have, contrary to Secretary England's assurances, fallen on deaf ears.
Implementing Issuances and the March 2004 Kay Coles James Letter on NSPS A Blueprint for Implementation(given the developments of today's meeting, it is important to remind all of DoD's workers, and all of Congress, that what management is currently engaging in is eerily consistent with the direction laid out by former OPM Director Kay Coles James see below)
DOD, fueled by a March 9, 2004 letter from OPM Director Kay Coles James to Secretary Rumsfeld in which she stated "we strongly support the objective of DOD's discretion to act without being burdened by collective bargaining obligations", believed they could simply ignore Congress while dismantling the rights of DoD's workforce. The James letter and accompanying memo went on to coach Secretary Rumsfeld as to how he could achieve his ideologically fueled objectives absent any public, union or Congressional scrutiny. Today's and past discussions with respect to "implementing issuances" only furthers speculation that management is following the letter of then OPM Director Kay Coles James directive.
The UDWC, continuing to attempt to follow congressional directives to work in good faith during the Congressionally mandated meet and confer process, remains skeptical of the true intention of management.
Will management reverse course and ultimately follow the letter of the law and the directive of Congress, or will they continue to fulfill the direction of the Kay Coles James directive? Answer as of today: No!
To view the Coles James letter and memo, please visit the UDWC website or http://www.afgedefcon.org/Docs/NSPS/kay.pdf .
Next UDWC update will be published on Friday, May 13, 2005.
Note: The UDWC will attempt to provide member unions with an update twice a week throughout the 30-day Meet & Confer process. For more information on the 36-member coalition, you can visit their webpage atwww.uniteddodworkerscoalition.org.