|IAM members join members of the National Federation of Federal Employees Forest Service Council to handbill a U.S. Forest Service hiring event in Olympia, WA. The Forest Service forces prospective job applicants to apply in person, greatly restricting the pool of applicants it can choose from.|
Members of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) converged on a United States Forest Service hiring event in Olympia, WA to distribute handbills shining a light on unfair and flawed hiring practices by the government agency.
|Lisa Wolfe, vice president of the National Federation of Federal Employees’ Forest Service Council, handbills outside a U.S. Forest Service hiring event in Olympia, WA.|
“Anyone who cares about healthy forests or having an effective government workforce should want to see this hiring practice stopped immediately,” said NFFE-IAM Forest Service Council Vice President Lisa Wolfe.
The Forest Service, currently hiring for positions as far away as South Dakota and Kentucky, is requiring all applicants to appear in person to submit their applications in Olympia. The stipulation effectively eliminates many current Forest Service employees, and other potential candidates across the country, from consideration.
“In April, Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell assured Congress that applicants should be able to send applications to be considered during job fairs, but that is not happening,” said Wolfe. “By requiring interested applicants to appear in person, the Forest Service has effectively eliminated applicants from the rest of the country. That is not fair to current employees or other applicants living in those areas. It also makes it impossible for the Forest Service to field the best pool of applicants.”
NFFE-IAM’s presence at the hiring event in Olympia follows months of effort by the union to convince the Forest Service to end its flawed hiring practice. The Forest Service continues to use this competition-limiting hiring practice even after Tidwell’s testimony before Congress, stating that the agency “need[s] to make sure that folks have an opportunity so that we can look at the full candidate pool.”
“We cannot stand idly by as the Forest Service continues a hiring practice that is unfair to potential applicants, is bad for the agency, and ultimately short-changes American taxpayers,” said Wolfe. “People should not be expected to travel halfway across the country to compete for a job that pays less than $14 an hour. This hiring practice is ridiculous, and it needs to stop.”