Union Rights Are a Sticking Point in Homeland Security
Following testimony by U.S. Office of Personnel Management Deputy Director Dan G. Blair before a House Appropriations subcommittee last month, Maryland?s Representative Steny Hoyer asked the deputy director to send him examples of federal employees? union membership jeopardizing national security. With legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security currently stalled in the Senate, in part by debates over the union rights and other protections that employees of the proposed new department would be allowed to retain (see WIT for July 10, 2002), Representative Hoyer recently made Mr. Blair?s written response public. Unable to provide a single example of union representation posing a security risk, the deputy director insisted that unionization was besides the point, and that the real issue was the proper balance between workers? rights and the government?s duty to protect citizens---begging the question of why non-conflicting principles require balancing.