WASHINGTON, April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Next year's Defense spending bill passed out of the House Armed Services Committee with many pro-worker provisions endorsed by the American Federation of Government Employees, including an amendment to reverse steep cuts in travel expenses for civilian employees who spend months away from home supporting our warfighters.
"Nearly all of the amendments we supported on behalf of the 270,000 civilian employees AFGE represents in the Department of Defense were included in the spending bill that passed out of the House Armed Services Committee," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
"AFGE will work to retain these provisions as this bill moves through the congressional process, and we will fight to remove any language that would undermine the critical jobs that civil service workers perform on behalf of the American people," Cox said.
President Cox thanked the following members of Congress for standing up for federal workers: Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah), Del. Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Illinois), Rep. Walter Jones (North Carolina), Rep. Ruben Gallego (Arizona), Rep. Rick Larsen (Washington), Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas), Rep. Mike Rogers (Alabama), Rep. Austin Scott (Georgia), Rep. Mark Takai (Hawaii), and Rep. Timothy Walz (Minnesota).
One anti-worker provision that was included in the bill would defund the Defense Commissary Agency by converting it to a non-appropriated fund (NAF) entity. This change would force the commissaries to raise prices on military families and slash pay and benefits for commissary workers.
"Many of the commissary's workers are veterans or spouses of service members. Slashing the modest pay and benefits of future commissary workers is an unconscionable proposal that AFGE will continue to fight as the spending bill advances in Congress," Cox said.
Following are some of the AFGE-backed provisions included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that cleared the House Armed Services Committee:
Reverse steep cuts in per diem rates for employees who travel away from home for longer than 30 days at a time;
Extend the cap on service contract spending to deter DoD from shifting work from the civilian workforce to contractors;
Establish guidelines for converting non-military essential work from civilians or contractors to military personnel;
Require DoD to use the easy-to-review Army checklist for complying with existing laws and rules on contracting;
Require DoD and the military services to report on skill gaps created as a result of mandatory headquarters cuts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) positions as well as in depots and arsenals;
Provide DoD industrial facilities with direct hiring authority for two years;
Allow DoD industrial facilities to transfer employees who were hired competitively for term and temporary positions to permanent positions that are open to both internal and external applicants if they have already worked at least two years;
Ensure continued use of the current Title 10 definition for commercial items for core depot maintenance;
Allow arsenals to charge variable labor rates to make their pricing more competitive;
Request a report on the role of DoD depots in maintaining the C-130;
Require DoD to identify critical defense items sole sourced to foreign entities and develop a plan for bringing that work back to U.S. arsenals and depots.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.