Unions Beginning PR Campaign Against Personnel Reforms

Unions are beginning their public relations campaigns against proposed personnel management reforms.

Federal unions are pushing to defeat or severely alter the newly proposed personnel systems for the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense – rules they claim strip employee rights and destroy morale across each agency.

Unions have already announced their intent to sue to stop implementation of the massive personnel reforms, which the Bush administration hopes to be implemented government-wide.

While that is percolating comes the public relations campaign. The American Federation of Government Employees issued a press release Thursday cautioning “against a hasty timetable to implement” the National Security Personnel System – using a civilian defense worker at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as its source.

“In the military, morale is crucial to mission success and can make the difference between living and dying,” said Don Hale, a marine corps veteran and a current civilian defense employee at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

In the release, Hale stated that the workplace environment and morale on military installations would be impacted adversely by NSPS. He explained that because many civilian defense employees work along side military personnel, the uniformed military would also be impacted by a low morale work environment.

In a nutshell, AFGE’s arguments included the following:

– Lack of or diminishment of due process rights for workers

– Pay for performance (pits workers against each other for pay increases and relies on managers’ judgment)

– Reduction in Force procedures that the unions say would theoretically allow a one-year employee with an “outstanding” rating to be retained over a 20-year employee with an “excellent” rating

– Appeals process that would prohibit the Merit Systems Protection Board or an arbitrator from substituting a lesser penalty in nearly all cases

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47