NFFE-IAM Members Storm Capitol Hill to Save Treasure Lake
Earlier this fall, the Department of Labor announced its intent to close the Treasure Lake Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center. The mission of Treasure Lake is to provide education and vocational training to at-risk youth. The Center serves over 100 students at various stages of training, who come from many different regions of the country.
Treasure Lake is a long-standing source of pride in the Indiahoma, Okla. community. For 50 years the Center has helped countless at-risk students turn their lives around by giving them the skills and structure to earn a good-paying job. Additionally, the Center pumps $6 million into the local community.
Treasure Lake’s closure would have a devastating impact on the local economy, the students it is tasked with training and the 50 employees that would lose their jobs – including NFFE-IAM members from NFFE Local 1840.
Since the possibility of Treasure Lake closure was first announced, NFFE has been fighting to keep the Center open. The Union has disputed the rationale the Department of Labor (DOL) used to select Treasure Lake for closure, gathered scores of signatures on a petition to save the Center, rallied area businesses to oppose the closure, and contributed to several local news articles voicing opposition to the possible closure.
Despite these efforts, the Department has continued to move forward with their plans; DOL recently issued a final notice of their intent to close Treasure Lake.
In the wake of the agency’s decision, NFFE-IAM members descended on Washington, DC last week to seek an alternative path to saving Treasure Lake. Members from Local 1840, Local 1855, Local 1697 and the Forest Service Council stormed Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress in an attempt save Treasure Lake. NFFE-IAM members met with the many Representatives of the ‘Friends of Job Corps Caucus,’ as well as Senator Inhofe (Okla.) and Congressman Cole (Okla.), as Treasure Lake is located in Congressman Cole’s fourth congressional district of Oklahoma.
Following numerous meetings on Capitol Hill, it was clear that there is a potential legislative solution to save Treasure Lake, although that solution is not a sure thing at this point. The dedication of Local 1840, Local 1855, Local 1697 and the Forest Service Council made this opportunity possible, and they will be doing everything possible to see the legislative solution to save Treasure Lake acted upon by Congress in the coming weeks.
“When we heard that the Department of Labor was aiming to close Treasure Lake, we knew we had to take action,” said Forest Service Council Vice President of Civilian Conservation Corps, Shawn Patterson. “We have a duty to protect the jobs of NFFE-IAM members, and Treasure Lake’s closure would do just that. So we came to Washington, DC to build a bipartisan coalition of supporters in Congress. While we often hear how polarized Congress is and the attacks on federal employees, this is an example of a bipartisan effort to protect good-paying, federal jobs. We are hopeful for the future of Treasure Lake.”