Senators urge EPA to return to bargaining table with union

A group of lawmakers has penned a letter to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency questioning why the agency ended negotiations with a major federal employees union about new workplace rules that limit the union's ability to represent its employees. 

“We write regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s troubling decision to end negotiations with the  American Federation of Government Employees and unilaterally impose a contract on thousands of employees,” the letter signed by 42 senators states. “We urge EPA to fulfill its legal obligation to bargain in good faith and return to the negotiating table with AFGE,” it continued.

In early summer, EPA cut off negotiations AFGE and implemented a new contract that stripped away many rights and privileges of employees, such as reduced telework hours, evicting the union from agency office space and restricting employees from filing a grievance over disciplinary actions.

“The EPA’s actions appear to show a disregard to federal-labor management law,” which outlines agencies obligations to bargain with unions in good faith, the lawmakers wrote.

The senators included a list of four questions it wants EPA Director EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to answer by Nov. 15.

Read the full letter here.

Reader comments

Tue, Nov 12, 2019

To "Unions for government employees should be outlawed". Are you nuts? Mostly fed unions try to make sure people and government leaders are aware of the work the workers do - and try to make sure their salaries at least keep pace with inflation. They don't mostly. Do you want everyone underpaid and suffering lower living standards every year? I hope you don't wih that on your own kids and neighbors? Would you want to be treated that way? These are not exactly empire building unions. They only have limited powers anyway. I don't get those of you who are working people but you think the governments doctors at the VA, firefighters and land managers at the forest service, air traffic controllers at airports, all these people you want them getting broker every year? Man some people's envy in this society is so stupid. You should be trying to make sure you have some kind of union at your job. And if you already have one, how unkind of you to wish less on others. Not talking 10 percent raises here dude. Talking 2 and 3, in a good year!

Wed, Nov 6, 2019 Jack Dallas, TX

Unions for government employees should be outlawed. Whatever they as asking will not be inthe best interest of the tax payer but in their own.

Wed, Nov 6, 2019

Hopefully the current administrator and his political appointed flunkies will be out of office next election cycle and hopefully new individuals who will focus on important common sense environmental issues will provide the needed leadership. These idiots remind me of the dark days on Anne Gorsuch and Rita Lavelle both eco-criminals who faced serious jail time (Lavelle) her stupid stooge deputy. I wonder if the current administrator uses his flunky predecessor's dome of silence when making secret deals with the chemical and coal industries.

Tue, Nov 5, 2019

EPA political appointees are just plain minions. Look at Pruitt and huis replacement minion doing nothing for protecting the water and air but rather being the advocates for the coal and chemical industries. Their destruction of the agency and great science will continue until they are removed from office. They have no concern for public health.

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