Union: DOD should prove outsourcing benefits

A government union today asked Congress to impose a moratorium on further contracting out by the Defense Department because thousands of government employees, including information technology professionals, may lose their jobs.

Terry Rogers, national vice president of the 8th District of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said that DOD intends to put up for grabs the jobs of at least 230,000 workers over the next five years.

"History shows that at least 115,000 of those workers will lose their jobs to contractors," Rogers said, speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee. "Just what is the point of all this contracting out—other than replacing union service workers with contractors—if DOD can't even show it saves money?"

AFGE asked Congress to require Pentagon officials to prove that their "unprecedented reliance" on contractors actually is saving money, to stop contracting out work without giving federal employees opportunities to defend their jobs and to stop using contracting out "to undercut federal employees on their wages and benefits."

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who chaired the hearing, said Congress will investigate the matter but could not make any promises.

"We will ask DOD to come before the committee with a report," Stevens said. "I'm not sure about the moratorium, but we can get more data."

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