Federal Manager's Daily Report

The large majority of employees in the two Agriculture Department units scheduled to relocate from Washington, D.C. to the Kansas City area by October will refuse to go along with their jobs, resulting in “catastrophic employee attrition,” a union has said.

The AFGE union said that surveys it conducted of employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service–both of which formed bargaining units under the union after the department’s announcement of plans to move them–show that about two-thirds of affected employees in each agency will refuse to relocate.


“Employees will have to find housing and choose schools without knowing the location of their employer and even whether it will be located in Kansas or Missouri,” the union said. It added that while employees must give an answer to relocation orders by Monday (July 15) although only even the bids for new office space aren’t due until August 7; employees are to be moved into temporary space for the meantime.

Language in a House-passed spending bill for the USDA would block the moves, but there are only outside chances that the measure ultimately will be enacted before the scheduled effective date. Meantime, both agencies already are losing large numbers of employees to retirements and voluntary quits in the face of the planned move, the union said.