Federal government employees overwhelmingly feel unsafe about returning to in-person work and those who are already back on-site report inadequate health and safety measures are in place to protect against the coronavirus, according to a new survey conducted by a union for workers.
Nearly 8 out of 10 federal employees who have been teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic say they feel unsafe returning to their job sites at this time. And more than 70% of employees who are physically showing up for their jobs say their federal agencies aren’t doing enough to keep them safe, according to a survey released Wednesday by the American Federation of Government Employees.
“[T]he results are clear and concerning. Whether they are working remotely or on-site, federal employees believe their workplaces are unsafe and that their agencies are not doing enough to protect them,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said in a statement.
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“For months, our members have repeatedly called on the (Trump) administration to include federal employees in decision-making around pandemic protocols to ensure agencies understand the needs of front-line workers, but our concerns have fallen on deaf ears,” Kelley added.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union. It surveyed its members from Aug. 5-12 and received about 2,200 responses from federal employees at various departments in different states. The workers surveyed dinged the federal government for a lack of resources and support provided during the pandemic.
Of the employees currently working on-site, 69% say their worksites have a COVID-19 safety plan in place, yet nearly 71% say the health and safety measures are not being followed. One problem workers flagged was inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies at their jobs.
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AFGE told Fox News the survey respondents included front-line health care providers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Department of Agriculture food safety inspectors, Transportation Security Administration officers at various airports and civilian workers at Department of Defense installations.
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The union, which has endorsed Joe Biden for president, called on the Trump administration and Congress to pass legislation to allow employees to continue teleworking throughout the pandemic, to expedite the production of protective equipment, to improve oversight of how agencies follow health and safety guidelines and to ensure workers have input in decision-making about returning to work.