AFGE Warns Against Reopening Federal Offices Prematurely

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is requesting that Federal government offices meet a list of preconditions before reopening to employees.

The union offered the list of preconditions in response to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) memo outlining guidelines to begin sending Federal employees back to the office.

On the guidelines offered by OMB and OPM in accordance with the White House’s Opening Up America Again plan, AFGE President Everett Kelley said, “These guidelines would, if implemented too soon, worsen the crisis, and unnecessarily expose millions of Americans to illness and potentially, to death. Human life is precious, and we must protect the health and safety of our government workforce.”

In April 22 letters to OMB Acting Director Russell Vought and OPM Acting Director Michael Rigas, the union requests additional protections for workers and workplace conditions.

For Federal employees, AFGE wants universal testing for COVID-19, equal treatment for each worker in terms of exposure, and removal from the workplace of COVID-19 exposed or symptomatic employees. The union also asks that Federal offices use science-based standards for the safe return to worksites, full implementation of all Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and compliance with all bargaining obligations.

“Every precaution must be taken to protect human lives as the first consideration in any attempt to reopen the agencies and the economy at large,” AFGE President Everett Kelley wrote.

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