AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
November 14, 2003
The “compromise” DoD Authorization Bill passed on 11/12/03. The bill has been sent to the White House for the President’s signature. The bill contains most of the egregious language found in the House Bill. The Senate version was more favorable to employees. The bill that passed both houses of Congress is H.R. 1588. I believe the bill gives Defense Secretary Rumsfeld a carte blanche to “reshape” the DoD however he wants it. He’s supposed to do this in concert with the OPM Director Coles. The bill sates they will “consult” with National Unions for 60 days much like the Homeland Security situation. However, unlike Homeland Security, there is no one year buffer to implement the plan. It’s possible Rumsfeld could suspend bargaining rights along with other provisions. He’s supposed to come up with a new personnel system. There will be pay for performance instead of the step increases. I think he will move quickly on all of this. The AFGE National Office doesn’t know what Rumsfeld will do.
We recently had a 3 day Union Training seminar for Union officials. We had a meeting after one of the training days. The AFGE National Convention raised per capita payments to $15.50 per month starting January 1, 2004. We discussed various options. We agreed to put 3 options to a vote. One would be to maintain the status quo ($13.00 per pay period); one would raise dues to $15.50 per pay period. (Our current bylaws require this option). The third option would be to raise dues by an amount to just cover the per capita increase. This would be about $1.15 per pay period. ($2.50 per month = $30 / 26 pay periods). I was going to suggest a raise of $2.50 per pay period because we have a lot of arbitrations etc. However, with the current uncertainty surrounding the DoD bill, I believe we should wait and see what Rumsfeld does. We can certainly fund operations from the current kitty. If the worse case scenario ensues and we lose all bargaining rights, we won’t have anything to spend the money on. Summers has continued the attack on my official time and now he’s started on Bob McCarthy. Bob was supposed to move to the Bell Helicopter office next Monday. He spent two days packing boxes etc. Now, Summers won’t let him move.
I will give you an example of the ludicrous nature of some the stuff going on: Next week we have an arbitration hearing in Irving, TX on Thursday. The standard practice has been that I fly to Dallas on Monday and prepare for the hearing with Bob McCarthy. For this trip, however, Nancy Engle states that I don’t need to travel until Wednesday. I asked if she was denying me the hours to prepare for the case. Nancy said that I could prepare for the case on Monday and Tuesday but only in St. Louis. Thus, I will use 16 credit hours for Monday and Tuesday. They wouldn’t cut travel orders for me to fly on Monday even though the airfare would have been the same. I had to pay for the flight to be changed to Monday at a cost of $120.00 extra. The Union will pick up the additional per diem, lodging, and car rental for Monday and Tuesday and file a grievance to get back the additional money.
I don’t know what this will do to the Federal Service Impasses Panel process for the new contract, if any. Stay tuned for more.
Raymond E. Downey