Taken from http://www.iaff16.org

Legislative Update (24 May 2003)

As you are aware there has been recent action within the Senate and House of Representatives that threatens many aspects of DOD fire fighter employment conditions. The Department of Defense is proposing through legislative action to create a DOD Personnel System which will remove DOD employees from under the control of OPM Guidelines and place them under DOD personnel authority. The proposal also includes language that will:

Give DOD the authority to waive local bargaining rights contained in 5 USC, Chapter 71 by allowing DOD to bargain at levels above the level of exclusive recognition.
Give DOD the authority to implement changes after a non-binding consultation and mediation process is completed.
Allow DOD to waive current negotiated agreements.
Allow DOD to make changes to employee pay systems through the development of the new human resources management systems.

The complete text of this language (HR 1588) in its original format is available at www.iaff16.org or http://thomas.loc.gov/. The actual language that was passed including amendments is not yet available.

At this time, we are asking that all Affiliates and all members of the District contact their Representatives in the House and Senate and express their concern and dismay about our elected Representatives stripping federal employees of their local bargaining rights and placing a non-binding bargaining system in place that is essentially a consultation process. We should also express our desire to maintain current federal fire fighter pay provisions. As of this date, the Senate has not taken action on their version of the DOD Personnel System which is contained in S 927, so we need to pay particular attention to our Representatives in the Senate. Due to time constraints and the quick movement of this language it is suggested that in addition to mailings that this information be transmitted via phone calls and faxes.

As you have seen in the past week or so, the situation with the DOD proposals is constantly changing. Language that was originally in HR 1836 was included in HR 1588. Additionally, amendments to legislative language as is evidenced by the inclusion of the personnel system language in HR 1588 (Defense Authorization Act) make it difficult to keep track of final versions of passed language or even amended language that is being proposed. This makes it difficult to provide specifics to the locals as some of you have requested. Additionally, most of the language that is being considered is non-specific so as to allow DOD the “flexibility” they so adamantly state that they need.

The key at this point is to express our concerns to our representatives and ensure that they are aware of our dissatisfaction with the broad authority such legislative language will give to DOD in the aforementioned areas.