Joint Labor Letter to Senate Regarding Mikulski/Specter Amendment to Commerce-State-Justice Appropriations Bill Contracting Out (Privatization) of Federal Work

PLEASE SUPPORT THE MIKULSKI-SPECTER AMENDMENT
TO THE FY07 COMMERCE-STATE-JUSTICE APPROPRIATIONS BILL.
IT WOULD GIVE CONFEREES AN OPPORTUNITY TO ALLOW
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IN AGENCIES FUNDED BY THAT BILL
THE SAME RIGHT ALREADY ENJOYED BY CONTRACTORS
TO HAVE AGENCIES’ CONTRACTING OUT DECISIONS REVIEWED BY GAO.

July 10, 2006

Dear Senator:

The undersigned unions urge you to support the bipartisan Mikulski-Specter Amendment to the FY07 Commerce-State-Justice Appropriations Bill.  The Mikulski-Specter Amendment would allow conferees the opportunity to allow federal employees in agencies funded by that bill the same right already enjoyed by contractors to appeal agencies’ contracting out decisions to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Contractors, but not federal employees, have the right to appeal agencies’ contracting out decisions to independent third-parties at the GAO and the Court of Federal Claims.  No matter how conscientious a contracting officer tries to be, it can’t help but influence her judgment that only contractors can hold her accountable.  Moreover, there are specific instances in which contracting out decisions are biased or botched.  The federal employees victimized by such bad decisions should have the same right to seek redress as a contractor would enjoy if the positions were reversed.

The Congress has tried to establish an equitable appeal right three different times.  In the FY04 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Bill, the conferees agreed to include language that would give federal employees in all agencies the same appeal right as contractors.  However, several days after reaching that agreement, OMB officials were successful in forcing the appeal right language to be dropped.  Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Susan Collins included language that established government-wide appeal rights in the Senate FY05 and FY06 Defense Authorization Bills, and strong Sense-of-the-House language in favor of equitable appeal rights was included in the House FY05 and FY06 Defense Authorization Bills.  However, those bipartisan efforts also met with failure.

The Mikulski-Specter Amendment would allow conferees the opportunity to provide federal employees in agencies funded by the FY07 Commerce-State-Justice Appropriations Bill with the same appeal right already enjoyed by contractors to have botched and biased contracting out decisions reviewed by GAO; although a modest first step, this amendment deserves your strong support.

Sincerely,

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY,
AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, AFL-CIO
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO
DEPARTMENT FOR PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
PROFESSIONAL AIRWAYS SYSTEMS SPECIALISTS, AFL-CIO
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
UNITED AUTO WORKERS, AFL-CIO

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