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Defense Authorization Passes Senate: NSPS Reform Clears Major Hurdle

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

Contact: Randy Erwin, NFFE Legislative Director

Phone: (202) 257-0948

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the United States Senate passed the fiscal year 2008 Defense Authorization bill (HR 1585).  Included in the bill was language to fundamentally reform the Pentagon’s contentious personnel plan, the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).  The bill was passed by a 92-3 vote.

Passage of the Defense Authorization bill greatly increases the chances of NSPS reform this year.

“We were very concerned that the Senate would not pass the Defense Authorization bill this year, and that our NSPS reform language would die with it,” said NFFE President Richard N. Brown.  “We are pleased to see this bill is passed and headed to conference.”

In the coming months, the House and Senate conferees will hammer out the differences between the two versions of the bill.

“We are hoping that the House language will prevail in conference,” said NFFE President Richard N. Brown.  “The Senate language does not go far enough to restore basic employee rights like collective bargaining and fair employee appeals.  The Senate version also does nothing to address the pay-for performance system.”

There is one provision of the Senate language that unions prefer over the House version.  The Senate version included language to exempt blue collar workers from NSPS entirely.

“We believe it is a good idea to exempt blue collar workers from NSPS,” said Brown.  “The bottom line is that DoD’s pay for performance plan is not a model that is ideal for blue collar workers.  Blue collar workers have a job to do, and they do it.  Pitting one worker against another for discretionary pay would only cause problems.  It could create safety issues and it would likely hurt teamwork, which on many jobs is critical to efficiency.”

“Now that this bill has cleared the Senate, we are optimistic that Congress will pass meaningful NSPS reform this year,” said Brown.

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Established in 1917, the National Federation of Federal Employees is the oldest union representing civil service federal employees.  NFFE currently represents 90,000 federal employees government-wide, including 45,000 in the Department of Defense.  NFFE is affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

 

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