325 MCDONNELL BLVD, MAILCODE S3064290
HAZELWOOD, MO. 63042-2598
Telephone: (314)233-3752 Fax: (314)233-6648
Members: Here is some news on various issues:
The Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 1836) Legislation:
This bill would strip many of the protections currently afforded Government employees. I enclose a two page synopsis of the bill done by AFGE. The bill goes beyond what Homeland Security got. I sent some of you this by e-mail but I have been careful to not send a call for you to contact Senators and Representatives using the agency computer. There is a law prohibiting the use of government equipment to call for action either in support of or opposed to current legislation before congress. I believe these two sheets are factual and do not call for any such action. However, I am now asking you to contact your representatives and ask them to oppose this bill. AFGE is leading the bipartisan fight against this bill. I believe they are spending over $200,000 in radio ads to target certain areas of the country. I believe this bill, in its present form, would be the death knell for federal unions. After all, if you lose bargaining and other important rights, how could anyone expect you to keep paying Union dues?
AFGE has a web site with much of this information included either in the regular or "members only" sections on afge.org. Let me know if you have trouble getting on the members only site. They also have "AFGE Action News". You can sign up for it either at work or home. Since the AFGE Action News includes calls for action in support of or in opposition to legislation, they urge you to sign up with your home e-mail address. I will try to put pertinent information such as this on our Local web site at Local 3529.org.
AFGE has assessed all AFGE Locals with a per capita assessment of $2.00 per member for their Legislative Action Fund (LAF). They fund bipartisan activies in support of good legislation and in opposition to bad legislation for federal employees. I intend to pay this assessment. The current DoD bill is an example of this kind of activity. They also have a Political Action Fund (PAC) which you can join. That fund goes to support candidates on a partisan basis. No Union dues can be used for the PAC.
Steve Schwartzberg and I, along with representatives from the Western and Mid-Atlantic regions, participated in the Defense Conference (DEFCON) 2003 in St. Louis on March 29-31. This organization consists of AFGE representatives from the DoD affiliated Locals. DCAA was selected to have a representative on the DEFCON Steering Group. I was elected to be that representative by the other DCAA affiliated AFGE attendees. We were supposed to attend a DEFCON meeting in Phoenix from May 17-21 but they cancelled it due to the seriousness of the DoD bill issue. They moved the meeting to June 8-12 in Baltimore. I cannot attend due to an arbitration hearing in Dallas on June 12th. There is a section within the members only section on the AFGE web site with information on DEFCON.
Outsourcing DCAA Audit Work
I used to ignore all the talk about contracting out at other agencies because I thought it didn't affect me. However, I now believe if one does nothing to stop bad policies in the early stages like this, it will have a snowball effect like the Homeland Security/DoD bill issue. It was a very real concern at the DEFCON meeting. I participated in a rally in downtown St. Louis concerning privatization. Now, it has hit DCAA. DCAA will do a pilot plan to outsource 5% of staff years currently performed by the auditor workforce. The logic used is "some portion of the activity in individual audits may not be inherently governmental and could be performed at a lower cost by qualified auditors from the private sector". Please add this to the list of items to complain about to your representatives.
DOD Based Childcare Issue
The Federal Labors Relation Authority (FLRA) issued a complaint against the agency for refusal to bargain over the Pilot Program Review and Expansion. I had previously filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge. The hearing will be in Dallas on July 8th.
The 8-month DFW pilot program called for a review after 6 months of the program (April 1, 2002). The agreement also called for an expansion to the rest of the Central Region on an agreed to schedule.
Nation-wide Unit Issue:
Since AFGE now represents all 5 DCAA Regions, I planned to petition the FLRA for a nation-wide bargaining unit called a "national consolidation of units". Then, DCAA Headquarters would have to negotiate a nation-wide contract and would have to negotiate changes in working conditions (such as contracting-out). The DEFCON participants met with AFGE National President Harnage on this issue. He put one of his staffers, Tee Williams, to lead this effort. Tee said she wanted letters from all five regions in support of this action as well as information on the number of unit employees and members. So far, the Central, Western, and Mid-Atlantic regions have sent information. The Eastern and Northeastern regions have not. I believe Phil Joyce of the Northeastern Region has a problem with the way the DCAA Council of Local's draft Constitution and Bylaws looked. I sent out suggested changes hoping to alleviate his concerns. I have not heard back from him. Grant Hill, the Eastern Region Temporary President was in a car wreck and hasn't yet responded to my e-mail requests. I'll keep you informed.
DCAA Central Region Labor Relations Situation
Bart Dubinsky, the Labor Relations Officer is leaving the DCAA Central Region. Nick Sambaluk, the Resources Manager is handling some of Bart's former duties. We have broken the logjam of stalled grievances by setting dates and selecting arbitrators on numerous issues. I believe someone from Headquarters will be handling the hearings.