Employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture joined the Economic Research Service in a vote to unionize, according to Agri-Pulse. The vote comes as the Department of Agriculture, within the next few weeks, is expected to announce the sites for the agencies as part of its plan to relocate the two. USDA had previously narrowed the list to the Kansas City Area, Raleigh, North Carolina, and multiple sites in Indiana.
The controversial proposal prompted the Economic Research Service to unionize last month, and Tuesday, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture did the same. Both have formed a so-called bargaining unit with the American Federation of Government Employees. The Federation claims the proposed relocation would impact 568 out of 664 positions total between the two agencies.
By establishing a union at the worksite, the USDA agencies are legally required to notify employees in advance of any proposed changes to their working conditions and to bargain with the union in good faith over those proposed changes.