Fire Fighters Say DoD Takes Step Backwards in Implementation of NSPS

The Department of Defense (DoD) is taking a big step backward by announcing it will delay the start date for the new National Security Personnel System (NSPS) and reduce the size of the first group of civilian employees scheduled to enter the new personnel system, says the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

The United DoD Workers Coalition (UDWC), a group of labor unions that includes the IAFF, has filed a lawsuit against aspects of NSPS that affect collective bargaining. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for January 24. UDWC maintains that the Pentagon has not included its members in the collaboration process to create the new system.

The number of employees to first enter the new pay-for-performance system on April 30 has been reduced from 65,000 to 11,000. The next group will go into the system October 1 and the third group will enter in January 2007. DoD is still identifying which employees will fall into these two groups.

UDWC calls the starting 11,000 employees "nothing more than another demonstration project." The American Federation of Government Employees says the setback is an indication that DoD is not prepared to implement NSPS.

Commenting on DoD's actions, IAFF 16th District Vice President Jim Johnson states, "While this step backwards on DoD's part is positive from one perspective, it also demonstrates that DoD's development process is inherently flawed. DoD listened to contractors it engaged to develop NSPS, and sought guidance from anti-worker "think tanks" while generally disregarding input from employees, management groups and employee representatives. Now they want to go back and spend more tax dollars and redevelop portions of NSPS."

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