Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said he would work to save the civilian conservation centers.

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said he would work to save the civilian conservation centers. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

Union, Lawmakers Vow Fight to Stop Forest Service Layoffs

Capitol Hill reportedly was caught off guard by the Labor and Agriculture department announcement that officials planned to shutter Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers.

Just a week after officials at the Labor and Agriculture departments announced plans to shut down the U.S. Forest Service’s Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers and lay off nearly 1,100 employees, the union that represents those workers expressed confidence the centers would stay open.

“The main message I want everyone to take away is that the CCCs are not closing,” said Randy Erwin, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, on a conference call with members Thursday. “We generally don’t make guarantees, but we believe this is a fight we can win.”

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced that by the end of September, the civilian conservation centers across the country would shift from the Forest Service to the Labor Department. After the transfer, the Labor Department would shut down nine of the centers, and then contract out the work at the remaining 15. It remains unclear how the departments plan to move forward with reductions in force or early retirement and buyout authorities.

Erwin described the effort as an attempt to perform an end-run around Congress, which for each of the last budget cycles has refused to adopt proposals to zero out funding for the centers. He noted that already there are letters and press releases from lawmakers in both major political parties expressing outrage at the decision.

“Make no mistake, this decision will lead to an immediate loss of jobs in rural America and undermine economic development in communities like Anaconda, [Mont.], moving forward,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in a letter to Perdue and Acosta. “The fact that you are announcing this on a Friday before a holiday weekend is even more offensive. I will be working with anyone that will stand up against this decision in hopes of changing your minds.”

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Chairwoman Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., also blasted the decision, noting that House Democrats plan to increase funding for the Job Corps program by $150 million in fiscal 2020, rather than get rid of the program.

“We are disappointed by the Trump administration’s rushed decision to turn its back on the youth that depend on the Job Corps program in rural communities,” they said in a statement. “These programs give young people valuable on-the-job experience and training—putting them on the path to a good job while learning about how to conserve and protect our natural resources . . . [The administration’s] approach is without merit, it is misguided, and they should immediately reverse course.”

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., told the Somerset, Ky., Commonwealth Journal that even Republicans were caught off guard by the announcement. He said he would work with lawmakers in both parties to save the civilian conservation centers.

“Without any prior warning to Congress, we received a notification late this morning to the detriment of Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, including our center in Pine Knot, Ky.,” Rogers told the Commonwealth Journal. “I have had the pleasure of attending countless Job Corps events and graduations over the years to witness the confidence and guidance that these programs give our young people who need it most.”

NFFE Executive Director Steve Lenkart told members that he expects support for the centers to grow once lawmakers return to Washington next week. He said union leadership will be in touch with members frequently as the effort to fight the closures moves forward.

“As far as we’re concerned, the CCCs are not closing, and we mean it,” Lenkart said. “The only thing we’ve seen thus far is a letter that they sent out to show intent . . . We’re not addressing issues such as layoffs or RIFs at this point, since a letter sent six days ago is all that has happened at this point. We need to keep morale up, and keep people fighting for their jobs.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.