Environment

Union boss: Hundreds of EPA employees' jobs at risk

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent out more than 1,000 buy-out notices to its employees as Congress debates a $528 million budget cut, according to a union executive.

American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 Michael Mikulka said that 182 EPA employees in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota have received notices seeking early retirement or buy-out options that would eliminate their positions within the agency.

"The Chicago-based union executive told a press conference that the agency capped buy-outs at 79 in his region and similar letters have gone out nationwide, which could prevent additional layoffs from occurring.

"EPA wants over 1,200 of us to leave, purportedly to save money going forward and claiming that they no longer need the positions occupied by staff that in some cases worked at EPA for over 30 years," he said.

Mikulka expects that many of his members will take the buy-out deal and that the EPA will be less active as a result.

"Federal employees have been demonized by certain interest groups as well as Congress over time," he said in a joint teleconference with the environmentalist group Sierra Club. "We're going to have to do less with less."

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