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March 04, 2008

This is Employee Advocacy?

This story has me a little puzzled. The EPA locals of the National Treasury Employees Union are "withdrawing from a cooperation agreement" with their bosses at the EPA over policy decisions.

Nineteen union local presidents representing more than 10,000 Environmental Protection Agency employees signed a letter to Administrator Stephen L. Johnson last Friday accusing him of "abuses of our good nature and trust."

Under Johnson's leadership EPA has ignored jointly developed principles of scientific integrity "whenever political direction from other federal entities or private sector interests so direct," the unions charged.

Asked for comment, EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said only: "As a 27-year career EPA scientist, the administrator values the expertise and advice of his staff and will do so through his time in leadership."

The letter cited the California greenhouse gas waiver denial and several other issues, including mercury emissions from power plants. The Bush administration recently lost a court case for not sufficiently weighing the health impact of its proposal for reducing mercury pollution.

This sounds to me a lot like the EPA union members want to dispense with their appointee bosses completely and run the show themselves. Actually, I have no doubt that's what they want to do. My question: this is permissible how?

Also, when did unions move from employment issues like retirement benefits, back pay, child care, and wages to setting environmental policy for the federal government?


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 03:28 AM

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