(WASHINGTON,D.C.)—Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined U.S. Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) and Energy & Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and more than 220 bipartisan Members of Congress in calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to negotiate in good faith with union representatives at the EPA during the ongoing labor dispute. The members’ letter raises particular concerns about reports of unfair labor practices and other troubling efforts to undermine career civil servants and union representatives taking place at the agency. 

“We are concerned about potential unfair labor practices and refusal to bargain in good faith with union representatives at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” the Members wrote. “We strongly urge EPA’s management to return to the bargaining table with union representatives and negotiate in good faith. In addition, we request timely and continuous updates regarding ongoing negotiations.”

AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley added, "What is happening at the EPA is part of a larger mission by the Trump administration to decimate federal employee unions and leave employees with no voice to challenge mismanagement, workplace retaliation, and other abuses. We thank all the members of Congress in both the House and Senate who are calling on EPA to return to the table and negotiate with the union in good faith over a contract that will allow EPA employees to continue doing their jobs on behalf of the American people."

In June 2019, EPA imposed a unilateral, anti-worker management directive in place of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement. The directive violates the rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to public-sector employees. EPA refusing to bargain in good faith with the union jeopardizes the agency’s mission, public health, and the environment, consistent with pattern of similar behavior at other agencies intended to undercut workers.

This directive impacts more than 14,000 EPA employees, some of whom handle mission-critical cases, including emergency and long-term hazardous waste cleanup, prosecution of environmental crimes, enforcement of clean air and clean water laws, and cleanup of oil spills and toxic substances. This directive endangers that agency’s mission “to protect human health and environment” and every dedicated EPA employee’s voice on the job.

A signed copy of the letter is available here.