It added that a study was being conducted to “identify patterns, trends and peak times.” The press statement encouraged base workers to arrive early, use mass transit and offer feedback through their chain of command.
What it didn’t provide were reasons for the shift and policy changes. Attempts by The Patriot to obtain more information have been stymied, with base officials replying that the news article “contained all that could be said.”
Tom Scott, American Federation of Government Employees Local 987 president, said his requests have met a similar fate. For reasons that are not clear to the local labor leader, up to 4,000 base workers are now reporting to work at the same time as thousands of others, creating peak-period logjams at base entry and exit points and intensifying traffic on off-base streets.
“Some say it was production,” Scott noted in listing possible reasons for the shift changes. “Some say the group commander wanted to come and leave the same time as his wife (who works) in another group. Some say it was to save electricity due to day light savings time. I don’t know what the real facts are.”
He said the increased traffic is creating additional frustration and safety concerns both on and off the base. Children going to and from school are being impacted along with emergency response vehicles as major off-base thoroughfares are jammed, he stressed.
“Keep in mind that the agency closed the Air National Guard gate then directed another three or four thousand to report (to work) at the same time as another larger group,” Scott said. “Thus the major traffic.”
AFGE Local 987, the bargaining unit for most civilian workers at Robins, was notified of the changes.
“They told us and we advised them with our concerns and issues, but they were ignored,” the president said. “We requested to negotiate the issue formally but again it was ignored.”
Scott said the union recommended staggered, 30-minute- interval report times beginning at 6 a.m.
“We asked them to reopen the Air National Guard gate and increase to the maximum extent the manpower at current gates,” he reported. “We also requested they ask the city police and sheriff’s department to assist in directing traffic.”
None of that has happened, he indicated. Neither has he been told the reasons for the changes.
"I don't know what the real facts are," Scott stressed.