Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) has requested that the Navy look into allegations of mismanagement made by union officials against the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, according to a spokeswoman for the Southern Maryland congressman.
The request comes in response to a petition last month requesting an audit and investigation filed by the American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO Local 1923, which represents 800 workers at Indian Head.
In a letter accompanying the petition, union president John Gage says the conduct of Capt. John Walsh, the commander of the Indian Head division, and other supervisors and managers "clearly establishes mismanagement, abuse of authority, a gross waste of funds and discrimination."
The action followed word last month that the Indian Head division is planning to lay off about 100 workers because of budget cuts, and that other workers have been offered early retirement. About 3,000 people work at the Navy installation, which is the largest employer in Charles County.
Hoyer sent a letter last week to the Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs asking that officials review the issues raised by the union, according to Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for Hoyer.
"We've turned it over to the Navy for review and action," DeShong said. "We expect that will take at least a month."
DeShong said Hoyer's referral of the matter to the Navy office was standard procedure for such complaints and that the congressman had not formed an opinion on the merit of the claims. "Not at this point," she said. "We're waiting to see what the Navy finds out."
William P. Milton Jr., director of representation and education for the union's local office, said Hoyer's office had told him "they're very much concerned about the allegations."
But Milton said the referral of the matter to the Navy did not go far enough, and he demanded an independent investigation be conducted by the General Accounting Office.
The union is critical of the Indian Head management's record of denying workers' grievances. The union's petition includes copies of an arbitrator's decision criticizing the division's conduct in failing to follow previous arbitration orders. "The agency's conduct is contrary to the interest of effective government and a gross waste of funds," arbitrator Hugh Jascourt wrote in the June 14 decision.
Milton said the arbitrator has subpoenaed Walsh and division director Mary Lacey to appear before him on Tuesday to discuss the cases.
Chris Adams, a spokeswoman for the Indian Head division, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.