New Posts (2) February 7, 2019. Both these posts are related to the Trump Lockout/Shutdown. The first is a final report email message from Chuck Elkins – whose brain child the Operation was – on the EPA Alumni Association’s “Operation $hutdown $upport, through which alumni provided aid to needy locked out employees. The second is notice of a high and well-deserved honor accorded Amer Al-Mudallal, President of NTEU Chapter 280 by Representative Gerald Connelly, who invited Amer to attend the State of the Union address as a representative of all federal employees affected by the Lockout.

1. What a team effort!  You can be very proud.  As a group we distributed $36,500 in $20 increments to 165 EPA employees/SEE enrollees who especially needed our help during the recent government shutdown.  That was over 1800 separate transactions, and I know from your emails that many of you experienced some very frustrating interactions with the companies that sell e-gift cards.

We received numerous emails of thanks from the recipients, many of them wanting to thank you individually for your gifts. 

Many of you expressed sympathy for those of us doing the “Back Office” portion of this effort.  Those emails were much appreciated.  The administrative portion of the effort was overwhelming, but I was lucky to have the help of Bob Wayland, Barry Gilbert, and Phyllis Flaherty.  At the initial stages, I also had the help of Bill Hirzy who connected us with the EPA unions who helped us get the word out to EPA employees.

Thanks to all of you for your generosity.  It exceeded our wildest expectations.

Chuck Elkins, Executive Director

EPA Alumni Association

2. Connolly to Take Furloughed Federal Employee to the State of the Union

 Washington, D. C. – Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, announced today that he will take Amer Al-Mudallal, a Fairfax constituent, to the State of the Union. Amer is a chemist at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Office of Pesticides Programs, Registration Division. Both Amer and his wife, who also works at the EPA, were furloughed during the 35-day shutdown. Amer currently serves as Chapter President of NTEU Chapter 280. Amer has worked at EPA for more than 22 years.

“We all recognize the importance of border security but I’m disappointed to see the suffering of Federal employees and their families being used for political gain,” said Amer Al-Mudallal.

“Families like Amer’s, who are committed to public service and just want to serve their country, shouldn’t be held hostage by the President during a government shutdown,” Connolly said. “I want to thank Amer and his wife for the sacrifices they’ve made, and I hope they know we will continue to work to protect federal employees.”

Amer’s experience is detailed here.

Jamie Smith, Communications Director

Congressman Gerald E. Connolly

11th District of Virginia

New Post: January 23, 2019. During the current Lockout (a.k.a. partial government shutdown) of federal government employees and related private sector personnel, the EPA Alumni Association in partnership with EPA labor unions is running Operation $hutdown $upport for affected EPA employees. As of yesterday funds contributed by EPA alumni totalling over $12,000 have been distributed to hard-pressed EPA workers. This is  a demonstration of Partnership of a high order. The idea of this program was conceived by Chuck Elkins, who was Director of the Office of Toxic Substances during my tenure at the Agency. Chuck contacted me as a way of getting Agency organized labor to spread the word about it.

For a detailed history of how this unique partnership operation was implemented go to the Collective Bargaining/Partnership Page of this website.

New Post: December 23, 2018. Links to 11 documents have been added on the Fluoride page of the website that show how the union attempted to work “within the family” on the question of applying principles of scientific integrity to regulation of hazards of fluoride in drinking water. Members of the union began in 1985 to try to bring ethical science to bear on this question. At least one such member, albeit in retired status, continues to this day in this effort.

New Post October 10, 2018 Links to three documents that bear on NFFE Local 2050’s early activities on fluoride toxicity. The documents are the Report of the Surgeon General’s Ad Hoc Committe on Non-dental Effects of Fluoride, EPA’s Criteria Document justifying the drinking water standards set in 1985 that are still in effect, and the lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA over the health based standard – which Local 2050 joined as amicus curiae.

Also a subpage to the Fluoride page has been created and discusses costs associated with use of HFSA and pharmaceutical sodium fluoride as fluoridating agents.

New Post  August 5, 2018 Bill Hirzy has been working with one of five focus groups of EPA alumni on a project to envision, in essence, what EPA should look like in 2025. He was  impressed with the dedication and hard work of all the alumni who are contributing to this project. His suggested text, below in italics, for dealing with staff concerns about scientific integrity and their ability to most effectively contribute to a better functioning Agency  was adopted in his focus group’s final report.

2. Staff/Management Coordination and Empowerment Empowering staff as well as managers to identify potential improvements and correct systemic weaknesses can make the Agency more effective and innovative. This will require a sustained commitment from the highest levels of the Agency.

In this iteration of the Agency, staff will be active participants with management in identifying problems to be addressed and in planning how to address them. Processes to implement this mode of operation should be developed jointly by all participants with a stake in the process.

The focus group recognizes that disagreements will occur from time to time among sincere, committed environmental professionals. In matters involving interpretation and evaluation of scientific inputs, managers and staff qualified by education, training and experience should be the decision makers in resolving differences in professional judgments as they arise, using EPA’s Principles of Scientific Integrity as guidance. (Appendix C)

NTEU Members in Action at  July 31, 2018 Organized Labor Rally

NTEU members from around DC, Maryland and Virginia were part of the hundreds of federal employees joining together in support of their unions’ lawsuits against the administration’s EOs. Along with nearly a dozen members of Congress, National President Tony Reardon took to the stage to deliver three messages, including thanking federal employees for their work.(Top Center Insert: from left, Diane Lynne, Amer Al-Mudallal, Bill Hirzy, all past Presidents of the HQ professionals’ union.)

New Post  July 31,2018: Significant Documents re: Official Time Posted During the Toxic Carpet incident and subsequent battles, EPA made  a doomed attempt to bust the union by severely restricting its members’ and officers’ use of official time to less than one full time person (a.k.a. 1 FTE – or “one full-time equivalent) at a time when about six members/officers were working on the problem. That work included (as the Toxic Carpet Page explains) dealing with employees injuries and inability to work in their normal office spaces, filing and followup on  a petition to the Agency concerning the problem, and responding to a torrent of inquiries from the public about it after major media picked up the story.

The newly posted documents illustrate how the union won the right to bargain for adequate official time in an appeal to the Federal Labor Relations Authority and garnered support from the public and Congress that not only fought off those attempting to destroy the union, but ultimately resulted the union’s acquiring 4 FTE’s for officers,  adequate official time for stewards, and decently equipped office space.

Once NFFE Local 2050, representing the professional bargaining unit, won these rights, EPA granted 5 FTE’s, along with office space, for our sister union, AFGE Local 3331, representing the non-professional bargaining unit.

New Post April 8, 2018 When the Gorsuch Administratorship crashed in 1982 from ethical catastrophes, EPA staffer and whistleblower extrordinaire, Hugh Kaufman, created this cartoon which was posted on bulletin boards around Headquarters.Die Opera ist Kaput     (This was more than 10 years before email communication at HQ became available.)

Sensing a dejavu moment approaching, and employing technology 30+ years more advanced than what Hugh Kaufman had available, some people here in DC, observing the sleaze at the head of the Agency now, have posted these gems all around Capitol Hill. The phone number on the tear-out response tabs at the bottom is for the EPA Public  Information Office.    

Pruitt’s sound proof phone booth, biometric office door locks, bullet proof desk, platoons of security details and first-class airline seats (when he doesn’t take private jets) may show up in future around-town postings like this one. Stay tuned!

New Post November 29, 2017  More documents have been posted on the main Toxic Carpet page and the sub page on the Carpet policy Dialogue. These provide substantial documentation on how EPA management bent far over to protect the (then) $9 billion/year carpet industry. See, especially, the Indoor Environment ’93 material on the Carpet Dialogue page titled “Re-Inventing Government and History.”

New Post November 27, 2017 A professor at the University of California-Davis contacted us after reading the material on this website, particularly the material on Toxic Carpet and the Carpet Policy Dialogue. As a result we have today posted new material related to that work and EPA management’s attempts to silence the union’s voice on that subject in particular and on other scientific integrity issues in general. This new Post is on the EPA Attempts to Bust the Union page. Here is a link to one of the items that also appears on that page. Health Freedom News Article

We think this new Post is a significant piece of organized labor history worthy of your reading.

New Post August 19, 2017 All available print editions of Inside the Fishbowl – through 2001 – are now viewable on the News Letters page. Up to 2001 print editions had been printed and distributed by EPA management to bargaining unit members under contract. In 2001 a new contract provided that EPA would make available a web platform to host the union’s website, which would publish the ‘Bowl and other information that the union and management agreed was in the public interest. On-line editions – through 2008 – have been preserved and are being edited to make them compatible with the platform supporting They will be posted later this month.

New Post June 20, 2017  Letter to EPA’s Office of General Counsel at headquarters from three EPA Region 9 union presidents, Thelma Estrada, AFGE Local 1236;  Patrick Chan, NTEU Chapter 295;  and Mark Sims of Engineers and Scientists of California, IFPTE Local 20 regarding Fisrt Amendment rights of EPA employees.Ethics Letter – R9 Unions to OGC 03-24-2017

New Post May 15 2017 copy/pasted from EPA Alumni Association email of May 14, 2017 featuring a visit by Rep. Deb Dingell to the Ann Arbor Laboratory. The visit was hosted by AFGE Local 3907 and the AFGE National Council of EPA Unions.

Thanks to the EPA Alumni Association for providing this material.

May 8, 2017

Rep. Dingell Tours Ann Arbor Lab

Congresswoman Deb Dingell toured the lab with 2 state house reps from Ann Arbor on May 8th. AFGE hosted a press event (in the street not on EPA property). Great turn out and lots of press, including E&E, WSJ, Crains Automotive News , AP, Rueters, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Mlive and more. The first link below is the local Ann Arbor story.  The second link is the Detroit Free Press video.  

Initially EPA (OCIR) refused Dingell’s request to visit, which is kind of astounding considering she represents the district. And they refused E&E’s request for a tour.

Rep Dingell at Save EPA Ann Arbor Lab Rally

Detroit Free Press link to video

New Post, April 30, 2017

EPA Unions represented at the March for the Environment, April 29, 2017. Our sign is next to the Globe, in the second rank.


Photo of EPA HQ union presence at the March for Science, April 22, 2017. At left, holding banner, Amer Al-Mudallal, Executive Vice-President, far left, side view of Chief Steward, Anne-Marie Pastorkovich, right side of banner, Secretary Toby Jeong, holding”We need EPA,” Steward Denise Walker, Bill Hirzy behind “EPA Unions Fighting….” sign.    EPA HQ Union at March for ScienceEPA HQ Union at March for Science

Two other links regarding NTEU Chapter 280’s efforts on scientific integrity are below…..

“Rejuvenating Federal Sector Science” was the topic of a conference called by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and a presentation at that conference caught my eye today (April 23, 2017). I was looking through historical documents to post on this website and ran across that presentation. Although it was given 9 years ago, in July 2008, the presentation speaks clearly to the theme of yesterday’s March for Science. Here is the link to it.Protecting Federal Sector Scientists

Later that year the union was invited to make a presentation at Harvard University’s School of Law, along with other unions, on the subject of representing professional employees in science and technology workplaces.Representing Professionals in Science, Engineering and Technology