April 22, 2011
Over 1 Million Federal Jobs on Chopping Block: Two bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate to require federal agencies to outsource federal jobs that are considered commercial or closely associated with inherently governmental functions regardless of cost or efficiency. There are about 850,000 commercial jobs and tens of thousands of jobs that are closely associated with inherently government functions. Under the Freedom from Government Competition Act, H.R.1474 and S.785, federal employees would either not be allowed to compete to defend their jobs or be forced to compete under a highly subjective, political “best value” process. The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., and in the Senate by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. More lawmakers have since signed up to co-sponsor the bills. See the co-sponsors here and here.
“These are the same lawmakers who have voted to cut government services and programs for the middle class and the poor under the guise of cutting the deficit,” said AFGE President John Gage. “Now we know what their real goal is – funnel taxpayer dollars to the same outside contractors who helped to bankroll their elections and destroy over a million good jobs in the process.”
The extremist legislation comes as the federal government is struggling to improve its contract oversight and acquisition workforce while battling contractor fraud, which is a serious issue at the Defense Department, the agency that does most outsourcing in the federal government. This new political push to outsource federal work will wreak havoc on the government’s efforts to fight contract fraud and abuse as the rush to use contractors has proven to put the government at risk. AFGE is asking its Locals and Councils to reach out to their congressional representatives to make them aware of these efforts to destroy jobs and shift even more costs to the taxpayer.
AFGE Finishes First in Union Election at TSA, Prepared for Runoff: AFGE on Wednesday won the most votes but not a majority in a historic election at TSA. There is one more step before Transportation Security Officers can be represented on the job by AFGE. Because no union received a majority of the votes, the Federal Labor Relations Authority called for a runoff between AFGE and the other union while the choice of no union was dropped. AFGE President John Gage is asking TSOs to come out and vote for AFGE again in the runoff election, which is set for May 23-June 21 with the ballots being tallied on June 23.
“I’d like to thank TSOs, supporters, members and staff for their hard work. AFGE won the first round of a fierce contest and we expect to win the runoff election,” said President Gage. “I’m asking TSOs to come out and vote for us one more time. We’re one step closer to bringing you a better workplace and future.”
Most Americans Oppose Paul Ryan’s Plan to Cut Medicare: According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 65 percent of Americans oppose any change in Medicare that would result in seniors receiving a fixed-amount check from the government to buy their own private insurance policy – the plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and passed by the House last week but is considered dead on arrival in the Senate.
Health Care Reform Law Benefits 280,000 Children of Federal Employees: According to Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, 280,000 young adults have been added to their parents’ Federal Employee Health Benefits Program plans. Under the law passed last year, young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26 – up from 22 before the law was enacted.
Bill to Strengthen Whistleblowers’ Rights Introduced in Senate: A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would strengthen the existing whistleblower protection law. The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 would, among other things:
• Clarify that "any" disclosure of gross waste or mismanagement, fraud, abuse, or illegal activity may be protected, but not disagreements over legitimate policy decisions;
• Extend whistleblower protection coverage and other non-discrimination and anti-retaliatory laws to all Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees;
• Clarify that whistleblowers may disclose evidence of censorship of scientific or technical information under the same standards that apply to disclosures of other kinds of waste, fraud, and abuse.
• Allow jury trials under certain circumstances for a period of five years for employees who take legal action against agencies that allegedly retaliate against workers who expose wrongdoing;
• Clarify that employees protected by the whistleblower protection law may make protected classified disclosures to Congress using the same process as Intelligence Community employees;
• Establish protections for the Intelligence Community modeled on existing whistleblower protections for FBI employees
Average CEO Pay Was $11.4 Million in 2010: According to new AFL-CIO analysis of 299 largest American companies, the average pay of a CEO at a major American company went up by 23 percent in 2010 to stand at $11.4 million despite the collapse of the financial markets at the hands of many of these same executives less than three years ago.
When Union Membership Decreases, Middle-Class Income Shrinks: Right-wing lawmakers are attacking public unions left and right, feeding false information to the public with hopes to strip workers of the voice that helps them get fair compensation for their hard work. Unions are critical in defending the middle class, and when union membership goes down, middle-class income goes down. For public union members who are now under increased attack, you will see your income drop if these politicians succeed. For more information about what you can do, visit www.afge.org and click on the Fight Back Toolkit button.
Inside Government: Tune in now to AFGE’s “Inside Government” to learn about the benefits of protective equipment for correctional officers in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The show, which originally aired on Friday, April 22, is now available on demand. AFGE Council of Prison Locals President Bryan Lowry discussed the recent Government Accountability Office report entitled “Bureau of Prisons: Evaluating the Impact of Protective Equipment Could Help Enhance Officer Safety” and the need to provide protective equipment to BOP officers. AFGE Contract Analyst Tim Shorrock then discussed Japan’s recovery efforts in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster. Shorrock shed light on the Japanese government’s response to the tragedy and startling labor issues at Japan’s nuclear power plants. Lastly, Dr. Toni Lewis, chair of the Service Employees International Union’s health care division, addressed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the benefit to America’s working families.
Listen LIVE on Fridays at 10 a.m. on 1500 AM WFED in the D.C. area or online at www.federalnewsradio.com.
Quote of the Week
AFGE President John Gage on the historic union election at TSA.
“AFGE won the first round of a fierce contest and we expect to win the runoff election. I’m asking TSOs to come out and vote for us one more time. We’re one step closer to bringing you a better workplace and future.”