Not Surprisingly, Some NIFA, ERS Employees Disappointed with Relocation

Unionized employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture demonstrated last week to show they weren’t happy about relocating to Kansas City. Several employees rose and turned their backs to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue during an afternoon meeting to talk about relocating their agencies to Kansas City’s metropolitan area.

The Hagstrom Report said the protest was put together by the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that employees in both agencies recently joined. The federation said to its newest members, “We believe it’s important to forcefully, yet respectfully, convey that ERS and NIFA staff members are nearly unanimous in their opposition to the move.”

The organization also says the move to KC is nothing but an “attempt to undermine the employees’ scientific work.” Local Union President Dave Verardo said, “The researchers and other stakeholders we work with don’t want us to move. They want us to stay right here in Washington, where we can easily coordinate with the other federal science agencies.” Verardo said. “In reality, (Perdue’s)  announcement does nothing but increase the loss of mission-critical staff who can’t or won’t make the move.”