July 21, 2015

NOW THAT WE WON THE WoT, THEY DON'T GET STARSHIP TROOPER TREATMENT:

Defense bill hits pay and job security of Pentagon employees, could set wider precedent for federal workers (Joe Davidson July 21, 2015, Washington Post)

Deep inside this tome are provisions that could affect the pay and civil service protections of more than 700,000 Defense Department civilian employees, about one-third of the federal workforce.

They will not like what the Senate bill proposes.

And because the Pentagon is the largest department, what happens there to federal employees can influence what happens throughout the government. Already, employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs have been the target of legislation, enacted and proposed, that undermine their workplace rights.

The Defense bill is now being discussed by members of a House and Senate conference committee working to iron out differences in the versions approved by each chamber.

There are three Senate provisions that distress Democrats and federal labor leaders.

Section 1101 would double the employee probationary period to two years and allow the military departments, such as the Department of the Army, to extend probation periods indefinitely. Section 1102 would allow a delay in periodic pay hikes called step increases, which are based largely on longevity, for poorly performing employees. Section 1103 would allow employees to be laid off because of their performance, while downplaying other considerations including the length of tenure and whether they are veterans.

"These provisions would negatively affect Department of Defense civilian employees by undermining veterans' preference, merit systems principles, and due process rights," said a letter from 12 House Democrats, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. They urged leaders of the House-Senate conference committee to strike the three provisions.

Federal employee organizations agree -- mostly.

"These provisions are anti-worker, but they are particularly troublesome for veterans," said Matt Biggs, legislative director of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. "Extending the probationary period is a policy position in search of a problem.  It assumes that managers will fire more newly hired federal workers in two years than they would if the probationary period were to remain at 12 months."

Posted by at July 21, 2015 7:24 PM
  

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