August 5, 2011General Service Administration employees have free parking for a little longer.
After announcing last month that Washington-area employees would have to begin paying for parking on Aug. 1, GSA has postponed the change, the agency confirmed Friday.
GSA did not speak with unions before announcing the policy and subsequent efforts to negotiate have failed, said John Hanley, president of the GSA council of locals, part of the National Federation of Federal Employees, according to a Federal Times report.
The agency had previously estimated that 170 people would be affected by the change and that parking fees would vary depending on the location, but would typically range from $2,000 to $6,000 a year. The agency had cited environmental sustainability of the federal government, rather than financial reasons, as the cause for the new measure.
NFFE National President William Dougan has come out against the policy.
"Thousands of dollars in parking costs could force many lower-grade GSA employees out of their jobs because they just can't afford parking on their government salaries," Dougan said. "What about individuals who have no access to public transportation? What about parents who need to drop their kids off at school by a certain time? What if there are not affordable parking garages in the area? These are the type of issues that the union will continue to address with the agency before any new policy is implemented."
GSA said they would decline comment until updates to the policy are finalized.
August 5, 2011