Unions expect to negotiate new rules

Labor unions representing Defense Department civilian employees will press for negotiations about issues related to DOD’s proposed rules for the National Security Personnel System, a union official said.

“We fully expect to be able negotiate [the proposed rules] — that’s what the law is,” said Matthew Biggs, legislative director for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. “Congress put back in place the collective bargaining rights of the unions on all of these matters. If that does not happen, we’ll go back to Congress and have our lawyers start to go to work again.”

DOD and the Office of Personnel Management issued proposed rules last month to bring NSPS in line with modifications Congress made to the system under the fiscal 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. Among the changes, the law restored collective bargaining rights and appeal rights to workers covered by NSPS.

However, union officials say employees could fare worse under the proposed rules. In formal comments, they cited problems relating to performance payouts, pay caps, job reassignments and scope of bargaining.

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