The IRS has suspended its plan to remove life-saving automatic external defibrillators from smaller IRS offices after NTEU and Hawaii’s two senators raised concerns.
The AEDs, which can save the life of a taxpayer or IRS employee suffering a cardiac emergency, will remain in IRS offices with fewer than 100 employees through March of next year while the agency re-evaluates the issue.
NTEU Chapter 35 (IRS Hawaii) urged Sen. Mazie Hirono and Sen. Brian Schatz to intervene and help convince IRS leadership to keep the lightweight, portable devices on hand. The senators wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who responded last week and announced the review, which will be complete by April 1, 2019.
“This decision prioritizes the health and safety of IRS employees and office visitors, and I strongly urge the IRS to keep these devices in place on a permanent basis,” Hirono said.
“Every 40 seconds, someone in our country has a heart attack. The presence of more AEDs in public places like this means we can give more people a better chance to survive,” Schatz said.
President Reardon thanked the senators and commended Chapter 35 members and Chapter President John Johnson for taking action on behalf of all IRS employees.
“This is a classic example of how our union can make a difference when we engage our elected officials and state our case,” Reardon said. “NTEU will continue working with Chapter 35 and IRS management to ensure these devices remain on site permanently.”