Last week, Tim Minahan had a nice catch about how French politicians launched an initial assault on reverse auctions by seeking to regulate their rules and usage when French suppliers are involved. But seriously, why would any non-French company even consider working with French suppliers given the absurd EU -- and even more restrictive -- French labor laws unless they were compelled to because they were doing business in France? Personally, the only thing that I source from France are Bordeaux futures and the occasional weekend hop to a three star Michelin restaurant. And I intend to keep it that way!
But unfortunately, unions and politicians can be just as influential across the Atlantic in hindering Spend Management and sourcing efforts as they are in France. Consider how, according to a recent article in Government Executive, "unions and some legislators are supporting a bill that would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from outsourcing 2,000 jobs involving work on nearly 200 dams across the country." The stakes are not trivial. Taxpayers stand to save millions of dollars from the outsourcing initiative. But a bi-partisan union pay-back bill sponsored by two representatives in my backyard, Lane Evans, D-Ill., and Ray LaHood, R-Ill., "would define as "inherently governmental" the operation and maintenance of locks and dams."
If the outsourcing competition is allowed to go forward, it would "be the second-largest public-private competition completed under the present A-76 rules, after a 2,300-position contest at the Federal Aviation Administration last year that was won by a contractor." Fortunately, the Army Corps, the Agency asking for the strategic sourcing work to proceed, disagrees with the two renegade "red representatives" -- my term, not Gov Exec’s -- that believe the work is not suitable for non-government employees: "For the purposes of public-private competition, the Army Corps has designated lockmasters -- the supervisors at some lock and dam facilities -- as performing work that is inherently governmental, while the jobs of the operators and mechanics under them are classified as commercial and thus eligible for privatization."
Here's my suggestion: why don't we permanently offer the bi-partisan on-site expertise and council of Representatives Evans and LaHood to our ally and comrade in arms in Venezuela? Their free spending approach to union job preservation would certainly be more welcome there than it is here. Or at the least, let's send 'em some free Che T-shirts that they can wear as they lobby their supporters on the floor of the house ...