Union Leaders Nervous About Pruitt’s Takeover at EPA


(John O’Grady)


Leaders of federal workers unions weren’t impressed by Scott Pruitt’s first address on Tuesday to employees of the Environmental Protection Agency. They suggested there were unanswered questions left following Pruitt’s remarks.

“He didn’t say we’re not going to shrink the agency,” said Joe Edgell, senior vice president for National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 280. “He didn’t say we’re not going to fire people. He didn’t allay people’s fears today.”

His union represents those EPA workers based in the Washington headquarters.

“We were encouraged that he wanted to talk to and listen before making decisions. taking him at his word, we were encouraged by that,” added Edgell.

Some saw Pruitt attempting to encourage EPA workers and others to be civil in their disagreement with the way he wants to run the agency. John O’Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 appreciated the effort.

But he wonders whether Pruitt’s message of cooperating with states can be accomplished.

“Federalism is one that stuck out like a sore thumb,” he said. “If we pushed environmental protection, environmental enforcement to the states, how are they going to get it done?”

He also thinks Pruitt will target not just the size of the EPA and its rules, but the unions too.

“I say nothing is off the table, just because they didn’t address it in this speech. They are definitely going to go after shrinking the federal workforce, going to go after EPA and going to go after federal unions. There is no question about that.”


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