Pentagon (DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force)

Workforce

AFGE urges Congress to include labor priorities in defense appropriations bill

As lawmakers begin crafting next fiscal year's National Defense Authorization Act, the federal government’s biggest union is asking that they consider 12 labor-specific priorities, such as preserving collective bargaining rights and expanding benefits for the 300,000 Defense Department employees they represent.

The American Federation of Government Employee’s National Legislative Director, Alethea Predeoux, sent a letter on June 3 to the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate’s Armed Services Committees.

In January, President Donald Trump signed a memo that would have allowed Defense Secretary Mark Esper to suspend DOD employees’ collective bargaining rights during national emergencies, a power that was previously only reserved for the commander-in-chief.

AFGE asked that Congress consider including language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 that would prohibit funding from being used to exclude DoD employees from the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.

She also asked that the lawmakers consider including language that would grant 12 weeks of paid family leave to DoD employees, curtail outsourcing jobs, and align Federal Wage System employees’ pay with that of their salaried General Schedule counterparts if they’re in the same locality.

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