EPA Ditches Trump-Era Contract, Restores Workers’ Rights

Categories: EPA, The Insider

In the latest victory for federal workers and our union, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed an agreement with AFGE removing anti-worker provisions from the contract and taking steps to renegotiate a new contract that will be more worker friendly.  

With the new agreement with AFGE, all language relating to the previous administration’s illegal, anti-union, anti-worker executive orders is gone. 

Instead, provisions in the previously ratified 2007 contract between AFGE and EPA will now govern negotiated grievance and arbitration procedures, representational time, union office space, and employee performance evaluations until a new contract is put in place.  

The 2007 language, for example, allows grievance rights over employee removals and the other issues like ratings, awards, incentives and quality step increases. It allows union reps more time to help members with workplace issues like grievances and health and safety. It also allows locals to use the agency's facilities and resources.  

“This is a huge victory for all of the EPA employees that AFGE represents,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “This agreement eliminates anti-worker contract provisions that were forced on us by the previous administration and puts us on a path to fully restore all of the workplace rights, protections, and benefits that employees are entitled to.” 

Looking forward to a new contract 

In the coming weeks, AFGE and the EPA will review other aspects of the previously ratified 2007 contract to determine what provisions will be enforced as part of the interim agreement, which will remain in place until the full contract is renegotiated.  

We expect improvements to be negotiated on major issues like telework and performance because OPM is expected to soon release new guidance on those issues, which are likely to result in gains for employees. The union has made it clear that we do want to negotiate improvements on issues like telework. 

Currently, the 2020 provisions on telework and work schedules will remain in effect – although employees will be able to remain on maximum telework in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“This interim agreement restores employees’ right to full representation at the worksite and will make it possible for employees through their union representatives to resolve any issues they encounter,” AFGE Council 238 President Gary Morton said. “This is a huge step in the right direction, and the union won’t stop fighting until we eliminate all of the anti-labor provisions forced on us by the previous administration.” 

Want more wins like this? 

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