GMUG Forest Service Employees Elect NFFE-IAM as Union Representative

GMUG firefighter Ryan Romero displays new membership forms
GMUG firefighter Ryan Romero displays new membership forms

January 7, 2022

Wildland firefighters and Forest Service employees of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) started the New Year with good news, as the final tally of their recent election to name the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) as their union representative was formally approved. Among workers who submitted ballots, over 85% voted in favor of NFFE-IAM representation.

On the path to NFFE-IAM representation, one GMUG employee went above and beyond to organize his fellow co-workers. Ryan Romero, a firefighter and leader within his engine company, garnered support for unionization and recruited over 40 of his fellow colleagues to be dues-paying members of NFFE-IAM. Employees wanted to join the union so that they would be covered by the favorable collective bargaining agreement with management and because of the legislative action NFFE-IAM is taking to advocate for Forest Service employees. Ryan and his co-workers now have a union that provides them with tools to improve their workplace, protects their rights while on the job, and advances their interests in Congress.

The GMUG National Forest, which spans over 3.2 million acres in western Colorado, attracts over 2.6 million visitors per year and generates almost $400 million in annual spending on outdoor recreational activities such as snow and water sports, biking, hiking, climbing, and camping. These gorgeous lands, which offer visitors endless attractions and breathtaking scenery year-round, are managed and preserved by dedicated Forest Service employees every day of the year.

“I am extremely proud to welcome our new brothers and sisters from the GMUG National Forests into the NFFE-IAM family,” said National President Randy Erwin. “This marks a tremendous start 2022 for both our union and our devoted workers at the Forest Service. We look forward to advocating for and improving the working lives of all employees at GMUG throughout the years to come. Congratulations to you all.”


If you are interested in forming a union or growing a Local, contact NFFE Organizing Director Ethan West at




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