Employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture have joined the Economic Research Service in a vote to unionize. The vote comes as USDA is expected to announce the relocation site for the agencies in the coming weeks. The controversial proposal prompted the ERS to unionize last month, and this week NIFA followed suit.
Both departments have formed a so-called bargaining unit with the American Federation of Government Employees. The Federation claims the proposed relocation would impact 568 out of 664 positions total between the two agencies. By establishing a union at the worksite, the USDA agencies are legally required to notify employees in advance of any proposed changes to their working conditions and to bargain with the union in good faith over those proposed changes.
USDA previously narrowed the list of proposed sites to the Research Triangle of North Carolina, the Kansas City Area, and multiple sites in Indiana.