Saving DFAS: Mayor says "Knock down drag out fight."


ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) -  U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) announced three days ago that DFAS jobs in Rome were safe from elimination. On Thursday night two informational sessions were held at the Griffiss Institute by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) presenting the facts and information to employees about their concern for DFAS Romes future.

The President of the AFGE Union, Ed Abounader spoke about the Army's proposal to take back work into a Hub and Spoke proposal. The Hub and Spoke construct focuses on one hub (DFAS Indianapolis) and multiple regional spokes or branches.

Abounader said the construct would begin on April 1 in the Ft. Bragg regional hub in North Carolina.

"It's a Hub and Spoke concept, so the hub would be Indianapolis and spokes would be various instillation's across country," Abounader said, "That would do army work. This was proposed in October of 2012. What they are going to do is start with implementation of Ft. Bragg on April 1 for the Army work, so our question is what impact does that have on DFAS in Rome?"

Abounader along with other DFAS Rome employees believe the implementation of the Ft. Bragg hub is going to have a negative impact on the 941 workers currently employed. The employees are already experiencing a substantial decrease in work despite the Hub and Spoke Construct.

If there were to be job cuts at DFAS, Abounader predicts a loss of 2/3 of the existing workforce.

The Mayor of the City of Rome, Joseph Fusco said he along with many public officials are going to "Knock down drag out fight" to keep DFAS jobs in Rome. According to Fusco U.S. Rep. Hanna, (R) U.S. Sen. Gillibrand (D), Schumer and Gov. Cuomo have all sent inquiries related to the proposed actions by the army and are working to keep DSFA in tact.

"If we're going to pass these jobs on to the next generation of folks who want to live in a beautiful community like Rome," Fusco said. "We need to take a stand now and fight."

 Abounader has been trying to get questions answered by the army, none of which have been answered.

As of March 13, DFAS Rome did receive a letter from the Secretary of the Army John Mcugh confirming a future meeting. This meeting would involve The National AFGE Union, DFAS management and the army.

"We've posed a number of questions already to the army and hopefully at that meeting we'll be getting answers," Abounader said.

The meeting will be held in Washington, a date has not been set yet.


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