National President Dougan Talks the Issues with USDA Leadership
Last Thursday, NFFE National President William R. Dougan sat down with key Department leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, to discuss key issues affecting USDA employees across the country.
Meeting with Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jay Jensen, Chief of Staff to the USDA Secretary, John Norris, and a number of senior policy advisors, Dougan extended a hand of cooperation to agency leadership, urging the development of a labor-management partnership council, among other issues.
“It’s the federal employees out in the field and the offices that are the key to accomplishing the work of USDA and its agencies, and their interests should be the primary consideration in any agency decision-making,” said Dougan. “I assured them that NFFE’s members stand ready to work with USDA to make sure that the agency’s mission is carried out.”
Turning his attention to hiring practices, Dougan urged agency leaders to end the preference of contractors over federal employees in federal stimulus projects. He insisted further that they put a stop to the unfair classification of many wildland firefighter positions, a practice which threatens to reduce the expertise of the fire organization and could negatively impact employment of workers in those positions.
“Overall, the USDA leadership was very receptive to our ideas,” said Dougan. “They promised to keep us in the loop on important agency initiatives and work with us as we confront the many challenges facing the Department and its employees.”