S.R. NO.








requesting secretary of defense donald rumsfeld to withdraw the department of defense's proposal regarding a "national security personnel system" and to submit a new proposal consistent with the intent of congress.



WHEREAS, the second largest source of income for Hawaii after the visitor industry is the revenues derived from spending by the United States Department of Defense (USDOD); and

WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii has become increasingly dependent on USDOD for economic stability, thereby creating an economic base that has become uniquely vulnerable because of recent and growing national concerns about security; and

WHEREAS, the 23,000 federal employees who live and work in Hawaii make an important contribution to improving the quality of life in our communities each and every day; and

WHEREAS, federal employees in Hawaii provide a wide range of critical services to the state's residents and provide quality health care to veterans in the state; and

WHEREAS, federal employees in Hawaii are committed to protecting our families and providing the services we rely on every day, such as ensuring that our food is safe to eat; protecting our agricultural industry from foreign pests; ensuring that retirees, the disabled, and their survivors receive Social Security and supplemental income checks on a timely basis; delivering our mail; building, maintaining, and modernizing the United States Armed Forces, including helping to deploy and supply American troops in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, federal employees are our neighbors and friends, and they contribute to the economic health of our communities and the vitality of our neighborhoods as active volunteers in our churches, schools, and other civic organizations; and

WHEREAS, we should honor and value the contribution that federal employees make to our community rather than engage in the all-too-frequent practice of mindlessly criticizing their work and commitment to serving the public; and

WHEREAS, Congress passed and the President signed into law the 2004 Defense Authorization Bill, which included the "Rumsfeld Plan," which will take away civil service protections from over 700,000 civilian defense employees, including some 16,000 who work in Hawaii--the same Americans who work alongside our men and women in uniform at USDOD to help keep America safe; and

WHEREAS, Congress authorized Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to make changes to civil service rules and protections because, at the time, Secretary Rumsfeld was able to persuade sufficient numbers of legislators that national security required changing USDOD's pay system and its obligations toward unions; and

WHEREAS, USDOD is now implementing the "Rumsfeld Plan" and is calling it the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), which allows the Secretary of Defense to eliminate civilian employees' rights to appeal management decisions to suspend, demote, discipline, or terminate them or to go to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) if they have evidence that such actions were taken on the basis of prejudice, political reasons, union status, a distortion of the facts, or in violation of MSPB rules; and

WHEREAS, NSPS allows the Secretary of Defense to decide unilaterally to eliminate civilian employees' collective bargaining rights, to effectively negate the outcome of employees' elections of union representation through the collective bargaining process, and to decide unilaterally to refuse to bargain at the local level even in cases where the union's recognition as an exclusive bargaining representative is at the local level only; and

WHEREAS, NSPS allows the Secretary of Defense to decide unilaterally to rewrite the rules regarding procedures for carrying out reductions-in-force that currently require managers to take into consideration performance, employment status, veterans' status, time served in the military, and tenure; and

WHEREAS, NSPS allows the Secretary of Defense to rewrite the rules on hiring for federal positions that may deviate from the principle of free and open competition, including the prohibition on the hiring of relatives; and

WHEREAS, both the white-collar and blue-collar pay systems will be replaced by individualized pay for performance; and

WHEREAS, federal employees will no longer be entitled to an annual raise passed by Congress but, instead, workers will be forced to compete with one another over a share of performance pay, and a worker's share will be determined by the worker's performance appraisal; and

WHEREAS, USDOD proposes to replace collective bargaining with "consultation" with unions representing its employees over proposed personnel changes; and

WHEREAS, current law requires USDOD to bargain, either before of after implementation of a change, to negotiate with the union over the impact on employees; and

WHEREAS, USDOD will be able to decide for itself which personnel changes are significant enough to require either consultation or bargaining; and

WHEREAS, USDOD will be able to issue regulations that will supersede the contents of collective bargaining agreements even after both the union and management sign an agreement, regulations that take precedence over the contract, thus rendering the collective bargaining process meaningless; and

WHEREAS, USDOD will be able to exclude from the benefits of union representation large numbers of employees, almost all of whom have been eligible for such representation in the past, including every position that requires certification, including firefighters, electricians, professionals, some clerical workers, and all employees on temporary assignments of up to four years; and

WHEREAS, the civil service system was established to ensure a professional, skilled government work force while eliminating nepotism, political cronyism, and similar inequitable practices from the hiring and firing of government workers; and

WHEREAS, for more than 50 years, civilian defense employees have worked to support and deploy our armed forces, and the rights and personnel policies they work under have never been cited as an impediment to national security; and

WHEREAS, proponents of NSPS have not and cannot produce any evidence that such drastic measures are needed, and U.S. environmental, public health, and labor laws already give USDOD all the flexibility it needs to balance employment policies and environmental protection with national security and military readiness; and

WHEREAS, USDOD will be able to establish its own internal Defense Labor Relations Board to resolve disputes between workers and management; however, management will select all the members of the board, thus stripping it of the independence necessary to serve as a neutral third party that offers a fair hearing to both sides; and

WHEREAS, Secretary Rumsfeld's plan:

(1) Absolves USDOD of all financial liability when it mishandles union dues withheld from employee paychecks;

(2) Proposes to interfere in internal union procedures by requiring unions to provide fee-for-service arrangements for employees who do not wish to join a union but would like union representation on specific matters; and

(3) Proposes to allow union members to cancel their memberships at any time for any reason;


WHEREAS, Congress clearly intended that collective bargaining be protected by the National Defense Authorization Act, which granted the Secretary such authority and stated that USDOD could not waive chapter 71 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, which establishes federal employees' rights to collective bargaining, yet Secretary Rumsfeld's plan explicitly states that USDOD "will not employ any provisions of 5 U.S.C. chapter 71"; and

WHEREAS, these issues of collective bargaining and pay for performance have been debated in and codified by the Hawaii State Legislature (Legislature), and federal law would supersede and negate the positive reforms implemented by the Legislature; and

WHEREAS, nothing in the "Rumsfeld Plan" has anything to do with national security, despite national-security concerns having been described as the sole rationale for giving the Secretary of Defense authority to change USDOD's pay and personnel system; and

WHEREAS, the Hawaii Coalition of Federal Defense Unions, American Federal Government Employees Union, and Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO strongly oppose authorizing the Secretary of Defense to exercise such powers, because it would lead directly to the destruction of union rights and the dismantling of the civil service; and

WHEREAS, under his proposal, Secretary Rumsfeld has already abused his powers by attempting to defy the intent of Congress to protect the collective bargaining rights of federal employees; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is urged to consider withdrawing the USDOD's NSPS proposal and submit a new proposal that honors Congress' intention to protect and maintain civil service rights and collective bargaining rights; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Secretary Rumsfeld is urged to:

(1) Implement new rules honoring existing collective bargaining agreements;

(2) Allow USDOD employees to exercise their right to union representation; and

(3) Allow unions to offer real representation to their members;


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Hawaii's Congressional delegation is urged to consider rescinding the broad grant of authority to the Secretary of Defense and, instead, require that USDOD's new rules:

(1) Be approved by Congress;

(2) Conform to existing collective bargaining agreements;

(3) Allow USDOD employees to exercise their right to union representation; and

(4) Allow unions to offer real representation to their members;


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the United States Secretary of Defense, Hawaii's Congressional delegation, Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, Metal Trades Council-Hawaii Chapter, American Federal Government Employees Union, and Hawaii Coalition of Federal Defense Unions.






Report Title:

National Security Personnel System