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Defense Authorization Passes Senate, NSPS Reform Being Sent to White House for Bush’s Signature

Friday, December 14, 2007
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Randy Erwin, Legislative Director

Phone: (202) 257-0948

 

Washington, DC – Today, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization Conference Report (HR 1585) which included language to fundamentally alter the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), a controversial personnel reform at the Department of Defense (DoD).  This vote follows the House vote to approve the bill that took place on Tuesday, December 12th.  The bill is now being sent to the White House for the President’s signature.

 

“We applaud Congress for getting this important bill passed,” said Richard N. Brown, NFFE president.  

 

The conference report was passed with overwhelming support from Senators (90-3), a count sufficient to override a veto from the White House.

 

“I don’t think the President will veto this bill.  It does so much in terms of funding the military.  I would hope that restoring Defense workers’ rights would be insufficient cause to draw a veto.  I don’t think that Congress or the American people would stand for it,” said Brown.

 

The bill includes language to restore collective bargaining rights and employee appeal rights for Defense workers under NSPS.  It also exempts blue collar workers from NSPS entirely.  The language left in place DoD’s authority to create a pay for performance system.  However, the measure would guarantee that NSPS employees get 60 percent of the annual pay raise given to most federal workers if they perform at a satisfactory level or above.  Only the remaining 40 percent of the pay adjustment, which is set annually by Congress, would go toward performance pay.  Defense workers will also continue to receive locality pay when performance is satisfactory.

 

“We believe these changes greatly improve the personnel system over its previous form,” said Brown.  “The plan that DoD came up with was never going to fly with the rank and file Defense employees, and the plan would never be a success without buy-in from those participating in it.  NSPS is still far from perfect in our opinion, but at least some common sense has been restored.”

 

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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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