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ACT will continue to fight to maintain your rights as a federal employee. The Office of Personnel Management and the Federal Labor Relations Authority cannot be allowed to restrict collective bargaining and the negotiations of contracts that provide job protections and genuine merit promotion for federal employees. We must also continue to fight the attempts to increase the federal retirement age and to increase the employee retirement contribution.

Who can we turn to for help? No one. We must do it ourselves. It will require unity and a concerted effort by all technicians. In 1982 ACT led the charge for special disability coverage for technicians, and as a result, it was provided in Section 302 of HR-6955, PL-97-253, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill. Under Section 302, technicians who are separated from civilian employment because they are found physically unfit for National Guard membership, are entitled to a disability annuity until restored to an earning capacity. ACT successfully fought to have technicians included in the new Supplemental Retirement Plan for post 1983 employees. An important provision in the plan provides that technicians separated due to termination of military service, after age 50 with 25 years service, receive unreduced annuities with Social Security supplements to age 62.

ACT spearheaded hearings before the House Subcommittee of Investigations, chaired by Representative Gerry Sikorski of Minnesota . The uniform requirement, MEP compatibility, retention and AGR were among the items discussed.

ACT worked with Representative Mervyn Dymally’s office and had legislation introduced in the 100th Congress to provide Army National Guard technicians relief from the Military Education Program (MEP), and finally through an amendment attached to the 1989 DOD Authorization Bill, the MEP Program had to be altered.

ACT again had legislation introduced, in the 102nd Congress, to provide technicians with appellate review of conduct related adverse actions to the Merit System Protection Board. The bill, HR-722, introduced by Rep Mervyn Dymally of California , would allow technicians the same protection available to all other federal employees. ACT also had legislation introduced which would prohibit the requirement, by regulation or otherwise, of having a civilian technician of the National Guard wear a military uniform while performing civilian service. The bill, HR-609, was introduced by Representative Lane Evans of Illinois . ACT’s efforts also resulted in the introduction of a comprehensive “competitive” bill (HR-723) by Representative Dymally.

Also introduced in the 102nd Congress were two bills that would remove the pay cap for Wage Grade workers (S-310 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island and HR-78 in the House by Representative George J. Hochbrueckner of New York ). Another bill, HR-1188 introduced by Representative Butler Derrick of South Carolina, would allow technicians with 20 or more years of service to retain their technician jobs if not retained in the military.

One of the key provisions of the 1993 DOD Authorization Bill affecting National Guard Technicians was a short but significant amendment to the House version of HR-1188. ACT played a key role in getting the Compromise Amendment passed. Sec. 544 of the law provides that any technician who is involuntarily separated from technician service, after completing a least 15 years of such service and 20 years of service creditable under section 1332 of title 10, by reason of ceasing to satisfy the condition described in section 8401 (30) (B) shall, if appropriate written application is submitted within one year after the date of separation, be offered a position, not later than six months after the date of application, in the competitive service within the DOD at a rate of basic pay which is not less than the rate last received for technician service before separation

. In the 103rd Congress ACT played a key role in working with Rep. David E. Bonior (D-MI), Majority Whip, to introduce the Bonior Competitive Status Amendment to the 1994 DOD Authorization Bill in August, 1993. Unfortunately, this amendment was defeated on September 13, 1993 by a 256 to 156 vote. During the floor debated, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Forces and Personnel, and Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Service, expressed the hearings should be held on the technician competitive status issue.

Following this recommendation, ACT enlisted the help of Rep. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), ranking minority member of the Subcommittee on Military Forces and Personnel, Committee on Armed Service, to get hearings scheduled before the Subcommittee. ACT President John Hunter submitted a statement for the record and testified at the hearings which were held April 21, 1994 . Following the hearings, ACT continued its lobbying efforts to gain further congressional support and to ensure the additional hearings would be scheduled on this important issue.

In June, 1994 Rep. Bonior wrote a letter to Chairman McCloskey, on behalf of ACT and civilian technicians, requesting that hearings be held before the Subcommittee on the Civil Service, House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. In a July 11, 1994 letter, Chairman McCloskey announced that hearings would be held before the Subcommittee on August 3, 1994 and invited ACT to testify. ACT promptly initiated a congressional letter writing campaign, and President Hunter prepared a statement for the record and testified at the hearings.

ACT also was successful in getting Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) to introduce S.209, the “Prevailing Wage Rate Adjustment Reform ACT of 1993” on January 26, 1993 . Rep. George Hochbrueckner (D-NY) introduced HR 1509, the House version of the Prevailing Wage Rate legislation, on March 29, 1993 . ACT worked with Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL) to introduce HR 1381, the “Uniform” bill, which would permit National Guard technicians to wear civilian attire while performing their day to day technician duties.

ACT officials and member lobbied successfully, during and after ACT’s 1994 Annual Meeting/Capitol Hill Rally in September, to spare as many as 10,000 National Guard and Reserve technician positions from the administration’s proposed cuts of civilian positions.

ACT continues to fight against any plan to downgrade the federal retirement system. In the current 104th Congress, ACT has again gained the support of Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL) who introduced the Uniform bill, HR 331, in April 24, 1996 .

Regarding the FY 1996 Defense Authorization Bill, HR 1530, ACT members asked their congressmen to support the elimination of Sec. 1037, in order to eliminate the requirement to offer a competitive DOD position to a technician who is involuntarily separated, and Sec. 1038, concerning wearing of the military uniform during civilian work hours. Unfortunately, these two sections remained in the legislation which the President signed on February 10, 1996 .

ACT is currently seeking to gain congressional support of maintaining 15 PAA F-16 Units, instead of reducing the number to 12. The House appropriated money for this in its version of FY 1997 Defense Authorization Bill. ACT will continue its efforts to gain support of this provision.

ACT is a technician union. We represent National Guard Army and Air technicians exclusively. ACT is an independent union, without affiliation to any other labor organization. ACT officers and employees are all past or present technicians. ACT lobbies exclusively for technicians and represents their interests on the job, in Congress and in the state legislatures. ACT has a proven legislative achievement record for technicians. ACT fights the Guard’s enemies - supports a strong National Guard and civilian technician workforce. ACT provides free $10000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance to its members. ACT’s publication, “The Technician”, is delivered to each member’s home 12 times a year.


DO I WANT IT THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE ACT?

Dear Fellow Technicians:

Once upon a time there were no unions in the National Guard Technician Program. The employees were neither state workers nor federal workers. In almost every state there was no retirement system. An employee paid all of his or her health insurance costs and had no government sponsored plan for health coverage. There was no government life insurance. There were no grievance systems. Employees were generally fired without hearings.

Many times the payroll money ran out and employees did not get paid. Other times step increases were not given for months, if at all. Many employees had no access to position descriptions. Travel was often required with no per diem and no mileage allowance given. Some employees were required to work such long hours and recalled so often that divorce and family disruption was common. It was not unusual for employees to be used as bartenders, chauffeurs, and baggage handlers.

Employees were not covered by federal court claims and were sometimes sued as individuals. Some employees were denied credit or loans because of unclear employer status. In many places relatives and friends were appointed and promoted instead of qualified employees. Employees had no career status.

In summary, the working conditions were intolerable. The answer was association and in 1960 thirteen New York technicians got together and decided to unite. ACT was born.

Today, thousands of technicians have joined and enjoy representation under ACT. For many years, under ACT’s leadership, your fellow employees, many now retired, fought long and hard, with many personal sacrifices, to get federal law changed and written to provide coverage under the federal employee program. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed "The National Guard Technician Act of 1968" into law. Vincent J. Paterno, past President of the Association of Civilian Technicians, was presented the pen used by the President of the United States to sign this historic bill in recognition of his and ACT’s efforts on behalf of all National Guard Technician across the country.

Today we ask you to support our continuing efforts to maintain what we, and your fellow technicians, have gained through hard work and sacrifices and to assist in conquering new and different problems affecting your working conditions. Yes, you can say "I have it all without paying dues anyway" but you really should look to what depths the technician program has come from and then ask yourself "Do I Want It The Way It Was Before ACT?"

Join with your fellow technicians in union membership knowing this path leads to dignity and a secure future.

 

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