(L. to r.) National President Tony Reardon, NPS Acting Director Dan Smith, Chapter 296 (NPS HQ) President Rudy D'Alessandro and Chapter 336 (NPS National Capital Region) President Dan Johnston
NTEU continues to bring the ideas and concerns of frontline federal employees to management. Union leaders met yesterday with National Park Service Acting Director Dan Smith to discuss key issues ranging from staffing to seasonal employees.
“It’s a step in the right direction that NTEU appreciates,” said National President Tony Reardon, who attended the meeting along with Chapter 296 (NPS HQ) President Rudy D'Alessandro and Chapter 336 (NPS National Capital Region) President Dan Johnston.
The NTEU leaders raised concerns about staffing shortages across NPS, a problem exacerbated by lags in filling vacancies and a bottleneck at the Human Capital Office. “With so many staffing vacancies, employees are stretched thin but are picking up the slack, and they deserve to be treated with respect,” Reardon said.
Another issue NTEU brought to the table is the need for more training, as well as timely performance plans and mid-year evaluations. NTEU also voiced opposition to automating fee collections, a proposal that not only would eliminate jobs but also a welcoming face for national park visitors.
NTEU discussed seasonal employees, many of whom were surprised to learn this year that they would need to reapply for their long-term seasonal jobs. In the past, many seasonal workers could work up to 1,040 hours at two different parks in the same year and not have to reapply the following year. An audit by the Office of Personnel Management forced the agency to limit seasonal workers to 1,040 hours per year, total. NTEU leaders asked that the new seasonal hiring policy be applied moving forward and not to veteran employees.
NTEU will continue to fight for the NPS employees who protect the nation’s heritage and help visitors experience our country’s natural and historic resources.