AFGE: Trump’s Governmentwide Review Must Include Billions in Wasteful Contractor Spending

Government spends twice as much on service contractors as on civilian workforce

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for a top-to-bottom review of the executive branch:

“The federal government has two workforces: civilian federal employees and contractors. The contractor workforce has grown massively over the past two decades. Each year, the government spends more than twice as much on service contractors as it does on its own workforce.

“It doesn’t take a Wharton MBA to figure out that getting a handle on what contractors are doing and what they are charging should be the first priority in any governmentwide review of operational efficiency.

“Contractor pressure groups spend millions lobbying the Congress to make sure that the facts and figures surrounding the annual $450 billion spent on them each year remains hidden and unaccountable.

“We remain hopeful that the administration is serious about draining this wasteful swamp of politically connected contractors. They have insinuated themselves into every government agency, performing work at a cost to taxpayers that is often twice or three times higher than would be necessary if government employees were hired to do the jobs.

“The very best approach to rooting out government waste is to require agencies to finally comply with their legal requirements to inventory all of their service contracts. Only then can the government make sourcing decisions – whether to continue outsourcing or to bring work back in-house – that align with the public interest in cost-effectiveness and accountability.

“We also urge the administration to include front-line employees’ input in its review and analysis. Whether it is the VA nurse at the bedside of a wounded warrior, the Border Patrol agent securing our homeland, or the EPA scientist working to keep our air and water safe and clean, federal employees are eager to help make sure that every dollar spent produces the best possible outcome for our fellow citizens.”

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Giant Eagle Files Charges Against Labor Union After Workers Ask For Full-Time Positions

Giant Eagle has filed charges against a union representing some of its employees, saying it violated its contract when part-time employees, who said they were being overscheduled, asked for the creation of full-time positions.

The grocery store chain is sparring with United Food and Commercial Workers local union 23, which represents 13,000 workers. The charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board alleges the union repudiated or modified its contract, coerced employees and refused to bargain in good faith.

The company declined to provide details about the allegations, but in a statement clarified the charges have been filed against the union and not individual workers.

Giant Eagle employee Stephanie Fello said it’s one in the same.

“We are the union,” she said as she was cheered on at a press conference outside the South Side Giant Eagle Tuesday.

Fello has worked at Giant Eagle part-time for more than six years. She said she and seven other workers in the hot foods department approached management in late January asking that more full-time positions be created in the department, because part-time workers were routinely being over-scheduled.

“We took advantage of the open door policy,” she said. “We went to our manager’s office, we suggested that he make us full-time, they listened to us, they did create two full-time positions, but also they’re suing us.”

UFCW local 23 organizing director Richard Granger said multiple part-time employees had worked 40 or more hours per week for “weeks and weeks,” but without full-time status they weren’t eligible for increased benefits.

According to a copy of Giant Eagle’s “open door policy” provided by the union, the policy can be applied when employees feel they are “experiencing inappropriate working conditions” and that the policy “means that we would like to help you resolve your issues … and there will be no retaliation.”

A copy of the NLRB charges, also provided by the union, allege that the union “refused to bargain in good faith by unilaterally circumventing the contractual Grievance Procedure” and “unilaterally and surreptitiously” recorded the Jan. 23 meeting in question and posted the video on Facebook.

Granger said he suspects that is in reference to a post made on a secret Facebook group for Giant Eagle employees, and that if the company was monitoring that group, it would “constitute unlawful surveillance of their workforce.”

Fello said, after the meeting, management did agree to create two more full-time positions in the hot foods department, but that those positions have not yet been filled.

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