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1/03/2005

Rumsfeld Plan Targets Unions, Government Workers

The 750,000 civilian employees employed by the Department of Defense (DoD) are bracing for a series of sweeping new workplace rules that could spell the end of their collective bargaining rights and civil service protections.

Under a program approved by Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the DoD was authorized to modify workplace rules, including union rules, for federal employees to help the giant department respond to the needs of a nation at war.

The program, known as the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), quickly became the vehicle for an anti-union agenda that included proposals sponsored by DoD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration designed to give managers unchecked control over hiring, firing and promotion of employees. Additional proposals called for the elimination of due process for employees facing discipline and an end to collective bargaining over wages and working conditions – all in the name of “national security.”

As it became clear that anti-worker zealots had hijacked the program, union leaders turned to lawmakers for help. A letter now circulating among elected representatives calls for administration officials to observe the original intent of the program and to provide specific details of the changes they seek.

Union members and activists can help by contacting their representative and urging them to sign the Inslee-Van Hollen letter and join the fight against the administration’s campaign to eliminate union protections for hundreds of thousands of hardworking government employees.

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