Employees at the National Science Foundation (NSF) are calling on the agency to continue to allow them to take advantage of telework, an essential tool that NSF has embraced and relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic and to follow up on promise of remote work.
The agency has refused to negotiate with the union on these issues as required under the law and by the Biden administration.
In a letter to the leadership of the Senate and House oversight committees, Local 3403 President David Verardo called attention to NSF’s failure to embrace enhanced telework and remote work for the agency’s employees in 2022.
“Our mission is to ‘…promote the progress of science…’ not to occupy a particular building,” Verardo writes. “We have achieved our mission and increased our efficiency and output without skipping a beat during the pandemic while employing remote work and telework strategies. We need to bring staff onboard from across America who are focused on a strategy for changing STEM, not on changing their address.”
Verardo said embracing remote work and telework will allow NSF to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining staff, as other federal agencies and the private sector are competing for the same talent while offering workplace flexibilities. The agency can use remote work and telework to increase STEM diversity.
“The NSF needs to get onboard with remote work and enhanced telework or risk being known as a government institution with its best years behind it,” Verardo adds.
Verardo was one of the labor-management Remote Work Tiger Team members tasked with developing a remote work policy at NSF. The team delivered a report to NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan supporting a hybrid workforce model that makes the most of telework and remote work. The director did not implement the recommendations.
Local 3403 represents NSF employees across the country.