American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 6, 2005
Contact: Emily Ryan
THROW OUT MAXHR, AND WORK TOGETHER TO IMPROVE PERSONNEL SYSTEM, AFGE TELLS DHS SECRETARY CHERTOFF
Solution to improving regulations is joint collaboration
(Washington)—Scrap the proposed Department of Homeland Security regulations, and work together to improve the DHS personnel system (known as MAXHR), American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage told DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in a recent letter. "Shall we continue to debate the personnel system in the Congress, through litigation or shall we jointly design a system that works? We ask you to throw out the regulations. Sit down with us and let us improve the DHS personnel system together," Gage wrote.
Gage pointed out that 98 percent of the people who commented in response to MAXHR, mostly DHS employees, were against the regulations. "Nobody cares more about the mission of DHS than do these employees," Gage said. As the union representing employees throughout the department, AFGE’s approach to these issues is grounded in that fundamental belief.
"Our voice is their voice. The concerns we offer are their concerns. When we offer criticisms or portray anger, it reflects what we hear from them. If you shut out our voice, you are shutting out their voice. If you reject our concerns, you are rejecting their concerns. If you dismiss the ideas we offer, you are dismissing their ideas and if you ignore the anger we portray on their behalf, you are really ignoring their anger," he wrote.
"The frontline employees are now looking to you wondering if you stand for their interests or against them," Gage added.
AFGE is the largest federal employee union representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia, including the largest constituency of DHS employees, comprising Border Patrol, Customs & Border Protection, Immigration & Customs Enforcement officers; FEMA workers; and civilian Coast Guard employees.