Employees within The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service voted to unionize Thursday afternoon. The vote, 138-4, is part of the employees’ efforts to slow down or stop a plan to move the agency out of the Washington, DC area. The Economic Research Service employees will be represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, according to the Hagstrom report. USDA, under the direction of the Trump Administration, has proposed to move the Economic Research Service, along with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, out of the Washington, DC area.
Critics say the move will trigger the loss of valuable staff members and isolate the agencies from the Washington, DC community and its resources. Earlier this week, USDA announced the final three potential sites for the two agencies, being the Kansas City metro area, Indiana’s Purdue University and Research Triangle Park of North Carolina. USDA says the moves will cut costs, improve employee quality of life and bring the agencies closer to stakeholders. Employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture are scheduled to vote on unionizing next month.