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Union Pulls Out of Talks on DoD Pay System

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The American Federation of Government Employees has pulled out of talks around the Defense Department's personnel system overhaul, calling recent agency actions "nothing less than union busting."

AFGE and other labor unions representing Defense civilian employees have been in negotiations with agency officials to design a replacement for the National Security Personnel System. Congress repealed NSPS in the fiscal 2010 Defense authorization law, giving the department until Jan. 1, 2012, to roll back the controversial pay-for-performance system completely. Lawmakers also authorized the department to make changes to its performance management, workforce incentives and hiring flexibilities.

According to AFGE, Defense denied Julie Sheehan, an Air Force employee, permission to participate on the design team responsible for the NSPS overhaul in retaliation for her organizing and collective bargaining efforts. She has since been subject to accusations of performance shortcomings and placed on a performance improvement plan.

"They are targeting this employee to discourage union membership," said Don Hale, president of AFGE's Defense Conference. "This is nothing less than union busting, and we won't stand for it...we are pulling out of the design team, and the Air Force Command and DoD's senior leaders can explain it to Congress."

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