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Thursday, June 28, 2001 Daniel Kaufman, 202-429-5047


Legislation Before Congress Would Institute Reasonable Procedures
For Federal Agencies Contracting Out Public Services

WASHINGTON The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, offered its strong support for legislation being debated by Congress today that would keep federal agencies from outsourcing public services until they institute objective and fair procedures for examining the costs and benefits to the public of taking such action.

Sponsored by Maryland Rep. Albert Wynn, H.R. 721, the Truthfulness, Responsibility and Accountability in Contracting (TRAC) Act would also create a level playing field for federal employees to compete directly with private contractors. It comes as private contract employees at the federal level now outnumber civil servants by three to one, while the Bush administration proposes contracting out at least 425,000 additional federal jobs over the next four years.

"American taxpayers want their government to be efficient and accountable, but they also know that blindly contracting out vital government services is not the solution," said Gerald W. McEntee, president of AFSCME, which represents over 1.3 million members nationwide including 10,000 federal employees. "They want their tax dollars to pay for quality government services, not for private profits."

Based on a nationwide scientific poll conducted last year for AFSCME, the privatization of public services is supported by just one-third of American voters, and the majority of respondents regardless of party affiliation worry about a loss of accountability and fairness that may result from privatization. In fact, when states and localities have tried privatization, the result has often been serious conflicts of interest, poor and more expensive service delivery, and a lack of accountability.

"AFSCME believes labor-management partnerships to improve the delivery of public services are the way to go, but if the private sector is going to be allowed to compete for these federal contracts, public employees should have a fair shot at proving that they can do it better," Mr. McEntee added.

The U.S. House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy is holding a hearing today on the TRAC Act at 2:00 p.m., Rm. 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

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American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO

1625 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-5687
Telephone (202) 429-1130
Fax (202) 429-1120