GSA's depot plan delayed again; unions schedule more discussions

GSA's depot plan delayed again; unions schedule more discussions

The General Services Administration's 10-month effort to close some of its supply warehouses has hit another roadblock.

An independent arbitrator has ordered GSA to keep all eight distribution centers open and continue negotiating with the American Federation of Government Employees. The decision came last month, just weeks after GSA had decided to close six of the eight supply depots [GCN, April 3, Page 3].

1993 memo

The union has fought the GSA plan, saying it violates a 1993 memorandum of understanding between the agency and the union in which GSA agreed to negotiate all reinvention activities with the group.

Last September, arbitrator Jerome H. Ross initially stopped the closings based on the union's argument. GSA and union officials then spent six months in talks.

But following independent studies that showed the agency could save money and maintain service by closing some centers and letting agencies buy directly through vendors' Web sites, GSA Administrator David J. Barram again announced plans to close the centers.

A copy of Ross' new decision is posted on the Web, at www.afge.org/NEW/gsa_arb.htm.

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