AFGE EEOC Council 216 last week filed a 4th unfair labor practice (ULP) against EEOC charging the agency with making unilateral changes that affect the health and safety of its workforce.
In March 2022, EEOC released its Safety Plan and an accompanying Safety agreement with its union that set a 25% occupancy limit during “HIGH” COVID levels.
EEOC now states in weekly COVID email updates to staff that “there are no longer occupancy limits for EEOC offices. . . . [t]his means that offices no longer need to limit the number of people to 25%."
The agency made this unilateral change without bargaining with the union, prompting the council to file the ULP. Currently, 15 of EEOC's 53 offices are in the high COVID level, according to the CDC.
"EEOC needs to demonstrate concern for the health and safety of its workforce by enforcing occupancy levels when COVID is HIGH,” said Council 216 President Rachel Shonfield.
The council filed three earlier ULPs against EEOC after the agency announced it was unilaterally imposing its reentry plan and began requiring staff to report to offices the week of May 16th.
For the first month of reentry, EEOC has required staff to report to the office one day a week. During this time, there have been several reports in EEOC's offices around the country of COVID cases while more of EEOC's offices have moved from MEDIUM to HIGH COVID levels.
The agency plans to require staff to report twice a week starting June 20. The union has written EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows two letters (letter 1, letter 2) urging her not to increase office reporting requirements during worsening COVID conditions.