EPA union wins protections, but telework fight looms

By Kevin Bogardus | 05/30/2024 01:18 PM EDT

AFGE Council 238’s contract contains new scientific integrity and diversity provisions, which are considered key if Donald Trump wins the election.

A button that says "EPA workers for a fair contract" is pinned to an AFGE union member.

A pin is worn by an AFGE union member during a rally outside EPA headquarters in Washington on Feb. 15, 2023. Francis Chung/POLITICO

EPA’s biggest union has ratified a new contract with the agency that could shield employees during a potential second Trump administration.

American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, which represents about 8,000 EPA employees, announced Wednesday that it had approved a new collective bargaining agreement. Included in the deal with the agency are historic safeguards for scientific integrity and diversity, which will last well past the upcoming presidential election that could return Donald Trump to the White House.

Those protections could prove vital as EPA’s workforce was roiled during the last Trump administration when regulations were rolled back and programs faced budget cuts.


“President Trump attacked the federal workforce in ways we never thought we’d see,” said AFGE Council 238 President Marie Owens Powell in a statement, adding the new contract provides protections for EPA employees asserting their scientific rights.