(WASHINGTON)—The American Federation of Government Employees National Council of EPA Locals 238 today announced that it will send union leaders from its 14 affiliated locals across the country to meet in February with key congressional representatives in order to update them on issues important to its members and the American people. Council 238’s congressional visits coincide with AFGE’s annual Legislative & Grassroots Mobilization Conference in Washington, D.C. (Feb. 6-9).
“Our members are engaged in the vital work for the American people. EPA employees responded to Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf oil spill and are among the first responders to many natural and manmade disasters. Cutting the budget that supports such vital work puts both the environment and human health at risk,” Council President Chuck Orzehoskie said.
“It’s easy to demonize and demoralize federal employees,” Council Treasurer John O’Grady added. “Yet, the federal civilian workforce is the same size today as it was nearly half a century ago. If American taxpayers want competent service from their government, they need to tell Congress and this administration that they want a professional, dedicated federal workforce, not an overpriced contract workforce.
“Current efforts to freeze federal employees’ pay and reduce their benefits moves counter to the government’s long-standing goal of being a model employer,” O’Grady added. “America’s deficit problem has little to do with federal civilian employees. It’s simply a bad policy to focus on freezing federal civilian employee pay, while failing to acknowledge the shadow government of more than 10 million workers.”
“AFGE Council 238 is concerned that agencies and departments will have higher rates of retirement for current employees, as well as a harder time attracting and retaining employees, because dedicated, hard-working employees will not work for a company with poor pay and benefits,” Orzehoskie said.