EPA Librarians’ Union Demands to Bargain Over Proposed Closings



P.O. Box 1127
Chicago, Illinois 60690

March 16, 2006

Ruben Moreno, Director
Labor and Employee Relations
USEPA Headquarters
Ariel Rios Building Mail Code:3631M
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Mr. Moreno,

This constitutes the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of EPA Locals # 238’s (AFGE Council 238 or the Union) Demand to Bargain over the closing and major reorganization of the EPA Headquarters and Regional libraries. We demand this right pursuant to Article 45, Supplemental Agreements and Other Negotiations During the Life and Term of this Agreement and Designated Representatives of the Parties of the Master Collective Bargaining Agreement between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the AFGE.

The Council has recently been made aware of the following facts:

(1) On March 13, 2006, Tom Skinner, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 5, sent an e-mail to all EPA Region 5 employees, informing them that their library is closing. The e-mail announcing this closure acknowledged that there will be “some inconvenience” to it Bargaining Unit members. Mr. Skinner’s e-mail clearly shows that no provision has been made to provide core library services to EPA Region 5 scientists once the library closes. Similarly, no mention is made as to the responsible dispersal of the EPA Region 5 library collection.

(2) The EPA Headquarters library will be closing (or, perhaps is already closed), since 100% of its budget was cut ($500,000 total). No mention has been made as to how the EPA HQ library collection will be dispersed. No arrangements have been made to ensure that EPA HQ bargaining unit members will continue to have access to core library services.

(3) A “library steering committee” has been formed, consisting of senior EPA HQ managers and Regional SES managers. This steering committee will make decisions regarding the closure of EPA Regional libraries around the country. These decisions are being made without proper consideration of how the EPA scientists in Regional offices throughout the country will receive high-quality core library services. Also, these decisions are being made without adequate consideration of ensuring that AFGE Council 238 Bargaining Unit employees will have ongoing access to the technical studies, reports and other documents that EPA has produced in years past.

(4) On March 9, 2006, Lynda F. Carroll, Assistant Administrator for Management, Region 6, sent to Forrest John, President AFGE Local 1003, a memo with the subject “Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6 Library Closing”. This memo indicated that, “Region 6 library will be closing effective on the close of business September 30, 2006.”

Although it has been suggested that AFGE Council 238 might be involved in PDI concerning changes in EPA’s libraries the Council has never been provided formal notice concerning these changes. Nor has a PDI effort ever been undertaken. EPA’s scientists need library resources to help ensure that they can adequately perform their job duties.

Therefore, in view of the above, and while it is still not clear to AFGE Council 2238 exactly what is being proposed at this time, we are hereby notifying you of our intent to bargain over the changes to the EPA library system. Also, in accordance with Article 45 Section 2, AFGE Council 238 requests that the EPA explain all of the proposed changes and the impact of those changes to the designated Union representative.

(1) In order to protect the Union’s right to negotiate, AFGE Council 238 requests that the Agency maintain the status quo.

(2) AFGE Council 238 invokes its right to ask EPA management to cease its discussions of EPA library closures for FY 2007, and reinstate the $2 million budget cut to the libraries.

(3) AFGE Council 238 invokes its right to ask EPA management to continue its “library steering committee” discussions, but include AFGE representatives on that steering committee. The committee will continue to explore possible “efficiencies” within the EPA library network. With due consideration of how to provide core library services or ongoing access to EPA’s library collections, and AFGE Council 238 and management will work together to develop a Library Network plan for FY 2008.

(4) While it is not clear to AFGE Council 238 the impacts on the AFGE bargaining unit will be based upon what is being proposed by the EPA at this time, AFGE Council 238 is hereby notifying you of are intent to bargain over procedures and appropriate arrangements. In accordance with Article 45 Section 2, AFGE Council 238 requests that the EPA explain the proposed changes and their impact on the AFGE bargaining unit to the designated Union representative. Once the U.S. EPA has explained the proposed change and its impact on the AFGE bargaining unit, AFGE Council 238 will submit its counter-proposal on procedures and appropriate arrangements.

(5) Maureen Kiely, of Local 3607, EPA Region 8, will be the Chief Negotiator for this effort.

Charles Orzehoskie, President
AFGE Council 238

cc: Melissa Hatfield, Attorney
Labor and Employee Relations