Clay Johnson III, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, was quoted in the July 19 news story "Bush Aims to Expand System of Merit Pay" as saying that the legislation he is pushing to implement new personnel rules throughout the federal government will not make "significant changes in collective bargaining."

That's wrong. The legislation would limit the scope of union bargaining to issues that are "foreseeable, substantial and significant in terms of both impact and duration." What this means is that almost nothing would be subject to bargaining because it could be deemed either too important or too petty. Ironically, the changes Mr. Johnson promotes also would rely even more heavily on the same managers he says are failing under the current system.

The system Mr. Johnson proposes would distract workers from carrying out their jobs by causing them to worry about personal gain and question the motives of co-workers when they should be focused on carrying out the mission of the agency. Rather than working as part of a team, employees would be pitted against one another for raises and other rewards. Mr. Johnson's proposals would break a system that works.

LARRY DRAKE

President

AFGE Local 12

Washington

AFGE Local 12 represents Labor Department employees in the Washington area.