Union Raises Safety Concerns About Fleet Maintenance Work Being Awarded to a Contractor

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Contact:  Randy Erwin   (202) 216-4451 (office)   (202) 898-1866 (fax)  


On January 7, 2004 the Forest Service in Region 5 (California)announced that the agency has decided to award fleet maintenance work studied under A-76 to a contractor, Serco Group PLC.  The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), which holds exclusive representation for the 59 maintenance mechanics employed to do this work, issues the following statement in response to the decision:


The Union is extremely disappointed and concerned with the decision by the agency to award this work to Serco.  Our research has found that this company is based off-shore, in the United Kingdom, and is nothing more than an "outsourcing company" which does not possess qualified maintenance mechanics to ensure that specialized fleet, such as fire equipment and fire engines, will be adequately maintained.  We believe this places our employees and the public at unacceptable risk with respect to loss of life and property related to the ability to respond to and suppress wildfires.  A Washington Times article confirmed that past performance of fleet maintenance contracts by Serco were terminated by the Washington DC Police Department when they found the company had overcharged and double-billed the Department and made faulty repairs.  Contract overruns amounting to more than $1 million were also found.


In addition, the loss of these fleet maintenance positions will certainly pose further adverse impacts to many of the rural communities and counties in the state of California, where many of these 59 employees and their families live and work.  The economic impacts of job losses and loss of employees in these communities, in the face of the already staggering financial and economic problems the state is struggling with, will further strain the ability of these communities to meet the needs of their residents.


"We intend to protest the decision to award this work under the protest procedures outlined in the A-76 process," stated Bill Dougan, President of the Forest Service Council.  "We believe the agency erred in awarding this work to a contractor who clearly cannot provide the services required by the contract and has a questionable record of performance of these services.  The public and our employees deserve better."

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