June 22, 2006 – Civilian workers in the Defense Department facing the Bush administration’s relentless campaign to cut pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights can thank their unions for successfully lobbying Congress for an amendment to block anti-worker elements in the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).
The amendment, HR 5631, sponsored by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Walter Jones (R-NC), was approved this week in the House of Representatives by a voice vote. The amendment became part of the Defense Appropriations bill (HR 5631), which passed in by a vote of 407-19. The Inslee/Van Hollen amendment calls for defunding sections of the NSPS recently deemed illegal by Judge Emmett G. Sullivan in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
“This is a great victory for federal workers, but it’s an important win for union workers in the private sector as well,” said Frank Carelli, Director of IAM Government Employees Department. “The Bush administration fully intended to expand the use of national security as an excuse for its assault on collective bargaining rights, both inside and outside the federal government.”
The NSPS was authorized by Congress in the aftermath of 9-11.The new NSPS regulations, as drafted by the Secretary of Defense and the Bush administration continue to exceed the authorizing language passed by Congress and were inconsistent with congressional intent, particularly regarding the right of Defense Department workers to engage in true collective bargaining.
The fight to protect workers’ rights in the federal government now moves to the Senate, where unions representing federal workers will lobby for language to block the politically motivated assault on collective bargaining rights. For more information, go to: http://www.metaltrades.org/