EPA employees demand 'Bill of Rights'
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- Jan 17, 2020
Environmental Protection Agency’s nearly 8,000 workers want a new vision for the agency; one that will better embrace scientific efforts, improve working conditions and deliver a more equitable contract to union members.
Along with the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, EPA employees are urging support for a 10-point EPA Workers’ Bill of Rights, as part of a larger campaign, the Protect EPA campaign, designed to protect the EPA from anti-science policies by the administration.
“EPA employees have committed our careers to protecting human health and the environment, working day-in and day-out to keep our air clean, ensure our water is safe to drink, and clean up our land so that we may live and work on it,” Bethany Dreyfus, president of AFGE Local 1236, said. “Yet time and time again, the administration has attempted to silence research and gut our labor rights. That’s why we’re not just standing up for a fair contract, we’re fighting to be able to do our jobs and protect public health – and we’ll keep fighting until our voices are truly heard.”
The bill of rights include: a right to a hate-free and safe workplace; the right to a fully-funded EPA budget and full staffing levels; right to an end of lockouts caused by US government shutdowns; and the right to whistleblower protections, among others.
The Union for Concerned Scientists has signed onto effort, as well as Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), and Tom Carper (Del.).
Six House members have also signed on.
EPA workers are holding rallies, meeting with members of Congress, and encouraging everyone who supports the mission of EPA to sign their petition.