Union Concerned with Rollout of New Performance Rating System, Tries to Delay
Although it insists it has no interest in holding up the program, a federal labor union is concerned with how the Department of Defense is rolling out its new performance rating system for civilian employees and is working to delay the release.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) supports the overall New Beginnings program, but is not thrilled with the implementation plan laid out by the Defense Department.
The Pentagon wants to begin rolling out the program on April 1 to around 10,000 non-union employees. Officials will then assess this pilot program, and use that information to guide its plan to bring all defense employees under the new personnel system.
AFGE, which represents 270,000 defense civilians, wrote a letter to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work on Monday detailing its concerns.
AFGE’s National President J. David Cox said this pilot group is not an accurate representative of the defense department’s civilian workforce at large and will therefore give incomplete or lopsided results.
“AFGE continues to stand ready to help implement New Beginnings with enthusiasm and dedication so that it can be an enduringly successful reform of the department’s civil service process,” Cox wrote. “However, how this first step is taken towards New Beginnings, particularly with respect to enrolling an initial workforce that is representative of the department’s actual workforce, is of paramount importance.”
After almost 6 years of working in conjunction with federal unions, the Pentagon settled on a three-tier performance evaluation system, including at least three appraisal meetings each year between supervisors and employees.
AFGE eventually showed its support for the reforms, but blamed the DOD for delays in releasing its final guidance. When the final insrtuction came out in Februrary, eight months after AFGE expected it, it did not leave enough time for union locals to bargain over the roll-out details at each facility.
If union and non-union employees “don’t go in together, the information you get back on how well it’s going isn’t going to be as accurate,” said Candace Archer, a labor relations specialist with AFGE.
The Pentagon has not said whether it will heed AFGE’s call or not, but plans to place employees into New Beginnings in phases until all 750,000 civilians are in the program by 2018.
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