WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the Defense Department proposal recently submitted to Congress which would dramatically relax provisions that protect the rights of federal employees. The House Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency Organization considered this proposal in a hearing today.
"This proposal reflects the Administration’s hostility to workers’ rights to organize. They say that the current system is an impediment to flexible management, but offer no real explanation as to how this proposal would provide flexibility in the Department of Defense while also protecting the rights and benefits of federal employees.
"I thought it was shameful that Congress passed legislation last year that allowed the President to eliminate collective bargaining rights for federal employees at the new Department of Homeland Security. I am equally outraged that this new proposal from the Department of Defense includes many of these same personnel provisions when DHS has not yet even determined how they are going to implement the provisions passed last year. The proposal being considered in today’s hearing is not only unnecessary and wrong, but it also sends a terrible message to the federal employees who are protecting our nation - that their union membership could somehow be a threat to the country that they defend and love.
"Our nation has requested extraordinary commitment and thousands of hours of overtime from civilian employees at the Department of Defense to fight and win the war in Iraq and continue the global war on terrorism, but this proposal allows DoD to waive current laws including those relating to overtime and compensatory pay that protect these employees especially at times of heightened national alert.
"The Administration’s past record on federal employee issues continues to concern me and I will fight any attempts by this Administration to trim federal employee rights."