Carrying signs saying, "Contractors cost you more and give you less," more than 100 members of the American Federation of Government Employes picketed the General Services Administration regional headquarters building yesterday to protest use of private companies to maintain federal buildings.
Donald MacIntyre, national vice-president of the union, cited recent Washington Post stories reporting that private companies have been paid for applying two coats of paint to government buildings when they only applied one. He suggested corruption within GSA would be curbed if the agency returned to use of government painters, carpenters, security guards and janitors rather than farming the work out to private companies.
At a press conference the day before the protest, MacIntyre said GSA has cut the number of employes covered by his union by a third over the past four years as a result of its policy of "contracting out" maintenance work.
"I don't see how you can have corruption when federal employes are doing the work. Where are the gifts, the payoffs?" he said at the press conference.
In addition to the loss of jobs, the protest was over alleged failure by GSA to negotiate grievances over working conditions and pay.
Asked to explain the trend to the use of private companies, John F. Galuardi, regional GSA administrator, said, "The rationale is the number of people you're entitled to employ. The excess work over the amount that can ebe performed by the federal work force is contracted out."
He added, "It's cheaper to contract out in virtually all cases. I don't understand why."
However, he suggested that "differences in productivity" might account for the alleged disparities.