Many USDA employees are refusing to relocate as part of a plan to move two agencies to Kansas City. At the Economic Research Service, 72 employees accepted relocation, and 99 declined or did not provide a response by the deadline on Monday. At the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, three employees agreed to move, and 151 declined.
Politico reports those figures could shift until September 30, when staff is scheduled to report to the new Kansas City headquarters. The proposed move by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seeks to streamline USDA to reduce costs and place the two agencies closer to stakeholders, but employees and opposition to the move say the number of workers exiting the two agencies represents a great loss of experience.
Many of the impacted employees have allegedly told the American Federation of Government Employees they would move temporarily, until finding a job at their preferred localities. Staff of both agencies voted to join AFGE, a union representing federal workers, in protest of the proposal.