What do you do for the federal employees who protect our air and water, but have been attacked by the administration and its congressional allies? Thank them outside their offices and treat them to cookies and ice cream. (Pictured above are Chapter 280 (EPA HQ) members Andrea Medici and Joe Edgell)
That’s what happened during a lunchtime rally on Friday outside of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., and on Thursday at the EPA offices in San Francisco. A coalition of environmental and labor groups greeted EPA employees with dessert and thank you messages sent in on postcards from cities and towns nationwide.
“Thank you so much for protecting our clean air,” a San Francisco resident wrote. “I have a ton of family in Los Angeles and every time I fly into L.A. with my mom, who grew up there, she talks about how wonderful it is to see the mountains.”
The morale-boosting events came at a time when many employees are feeling threatened by the president’s proposal to cut EPA funding by 31 percent and eliminate 3,200 workers. Diane Lynne, president of Chapter 280 (EPA headquarters), addressed the crowd, emphasizing how much the support means to dedicated EPA employees who love their jobs and believe in their work.
The sentiment was echoed by Andrea Medici, a Chapter 280 member and EPA attorney. In her 26 years at the agency, Medici says she’s “never see anything like this,” but the event “means a ton.”
“It’s like we’re not forgotten,” she said. “We’re remembered and appreciated.” Medici added that she is encouraged by the flowers and notes her office receives regularly from former EPA employees.
These uncertain times also serve as a reminder of the importance of union membership.
“Just about everything that makes working in America tolerable comes from the unions,” Medici said.