While we briefly mentioned the other day that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson has been having increasing problems dealing with the unions representing his employees, with direct ties to the California waiver situation, a second look made us realize just how strong the union's reaction had become. In a letter released publicly by watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a larger swath of union leaders than those who previously protested the waiver decision announced that-- as a result of this and other slights in both the workplace atmosphere and the decision-making process-- they were puling out of a key cooperative agreement. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
[Union leader William] Evans said that the purpose of the Clinton-era National Labor-Management Partnership Council was for senior agency officials and workers to deal with workplace and other issues before the decision stage.
Instead, "what we found is decisions are being made, and they're being presented to us," said Evans.
Reading over the full five-page letter, we're also struck by the tone and content of a passage directly addressing the California waiver situation (again, emphasis added):
Under your Administration, EPA ignores the advice of its Labor Union Coalition and its own Principles of Scientific Integrity whenever political direction from other federal entities or private sector interests so direct. Examples include fluoride drinking water standards, organophosphate pesticide registration, control of mercury emissions from power plants, and requests for waivers to allow States to more stringently control greenhouse gases.
Yesterday, we observed Administrator Johnson refusing to tell a U.S. Senator whether he had assigned any employees to prepare a long-delayed regulatory response to the Supreme Court's Mass v. EPA mandate. At the rate things are going on the labor-management front, perhaps Senator Feinstein was indeed being too harsh on Johnson, and he just can't get his staff to work on it out of fear/protest that their recommendations will be tossed aside...