Thursday, March 08, 2007

IAP Worldwide Services: Privatization Gone Mad


IAP Worldwide Services, the private contractor which was awarded the support services contract at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after competitive bidding was overturned by the Army (PDF link), has issued its first press release on the issue. Smintheus at unbossed.com breaks it down; basically it's a PR spin of lies and halftruths. Surprise, surprise. I particularly like the opening graf:

IAP Worldwide Services, Inc., today issued the following progress report following the company’s first month of providing base operations and facility maintenance work at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC).

Progress! I love the smell of progress in the morning. At Walter Reed, it smells like black mold. Or mouse droppings. Or today, like whitewash. [Note, I've had several visits to this site from folks at Merritt Island, Florida from the IAP Worldwide Services server. Hi folks! You scum-sucking thieves!]

IAP not only replaced 300 federal workers with 50 contract workers, it did it by letting 240 federal workers depart through attrition while it waited for the Army to overturn the initial determination in which the federal workers underbid IAP by $7 million for the contract. Then, in its piggish make-money-for-the-rich way, it fired the remaining 60 federal workers and replaced them with 50 contract (that means no medical insurance or other benefits) workers.

From unbossed.com (which has done and continues to do invaluable work on this story) I also learn that IAP Worldwide service has been awarded another government contract, one that should frighten all of us.

IAP Worldwide Services has a $103 million contract with the IRS.
That's right, the Internal Revenue Service. The contract is to run the places where we send our paper tax returns. Right now there are seven of these around the country; as part of the contract, IAP Worldwide (We Bring You The Best in Mouse Droppings and Black Mold) is supposed to replace those seven sites with two. And what will occur at those two sites? The "filing, storage and retrieval" of paper tax returns.

Just imagine what this could mean. I send my 40 page tax return to IAP Worldwide Services. It contains my name, address, social security number, the details about my entire financial life, and a check with my account number and telephone number. Let's just assume, as at Walter Reed, that IAP replaces every 6 federal employees who formerly processed tax returns with one harried worker with a high school education, desperate enough to take a job that pays the federal minimum wage, but no health insurance, vacation days, sick days, pension plan, continuing education benefits, child care assistance, nothing.

You have to wonder, will my tax returns be handled with great care by this contract worker? Or will my tax returns end up the paper equivalent of Building 18 at Walter Reed? In a public dumpster in Merritt Island, Florida? Will a laptop containing my information and the information of 40,000,000 others be stolen or lost?

This is privatization gone mad. I don't even like to give the government my private information, as they've lost so much already. Why are we giving a private company access to private, personal information? This is madness.

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