Defense Department Workers a Step Closer to Regaining Bargaining Rights

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by Mike Hall at AFL-CIO Blog

The bargaining rights of some 700,000 Department of Defense workers are a step closer to being restored after the House passed, on a 369–46 vote, the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill last night.

A provision in the bill (H.R. 4986) restores collective bargaining, appeals and other workplace rights that were taken away from workers when the Bush administration imposed its National Security Personnel System (NSPS) work rules on the Defense Department.

In December, Bush vetoed the authorization bill over an unrelated provision that allowed American terrorism victims to sue the current Iraqi government for actions by the Saddam Hussein regime. Rather than attempt a veto override, the House drafted a new bill without the offending Iraqi provisions.

Yesterday, the Bush administration said it supports the current version and that the president will sign it. However the Senate, which resumes work next week, still must approve the bill.

The fight over the Defense Department workers’ rights began when the NSPS was first proposed in 2003. Democrats attempted several times to block the anti-worker rules and had some bipartisan support, but Republican leaders were able derail the efforts.

Full Story at: AFL-CIO Blog


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