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EEOC, Like Many Employers, Facing Opposition to Return to Work

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced its plan to have all employees return to work in early 2022. EEOC chair Charlotte Burrows shared the news with agency employees at a town hall meeting.

In response, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) filed an unfair labor practice charge against the commission. AFGE is the largest federal employee union. Employees asserted they were “blindsided” by the requirement that they all must return full-time to the office. The union stated that requiring all employees to return to the office on the same date would endanger the health and safety of the employees. They believe it runs counter to President Biden’s national call for expanding telework and remote options. A survey of EEOC employees revealed that more than 70% of those employees would like to telework four days a week or full time.

In response to the charge, the EEOC said it was “strongly committed” to bargaining in good faith. Thus far, the EEOC has not changed the current working conditions for its staff. The EEOC will draft a proposed reentry plan and present it to the union for consideration. The union then can bargain the “impact and implementation of the reentry plan.”