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Washington Wild Signs Letter Opposing Trump Executive Order Banning Race and Gender Sensitivity Training by Federal Agencies

Posted on Oct 7, 2020 in Conservation News, WA Wild Blog

On October 1, Washington Wild and 120 environmental organizations across the nation — together representing millions of members and supporters — sent a letter to nine U.S. Senators and Representatives expressing deep concern and strong opposition to an Office of Management and Budget memo (OMB circular M-20-34) and the related Executive Order.

The Executive Order issued on September 22 calls for an end to workplace trainings that address race and sex. It followed the September 4 issued memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), “Training in the Federal Government,” which calls for federal agencies to identify funds being used for such trainings.

This initiative to suppress trainings poses a broad threat to the well-being of employees and communities. Not only does do these directives impact federal agencies, they also threaten agency contractors and grant recipient organizations.

Workplace trainings provide essential education, recruitment, and retention efforts to the agencies that protect our public health, land, air, water, wildlife, and cultural resources.

The directives to end trainings are already having a damaging impact on agency efforts to address prejudice, workplace harassment, and discrimination. Among the many implications, the cancelation of trainings threatens to interfere with pending Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) claims and may make employees who have experienced workplace discrimination feel less safe and supported.

Trainings not only improve work environments for employees, they also positively impact the communities that agencies serve. Workplace trainings address relevant community challenges, such as the disproportionate impact of polluting industries on communities of color that lead to profound public health impacts, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter, Washington Wild and the 120 organizations implored that a final FY21 appropriations vehicle or any other moving vehicle in the remainder of this Congress prevent any federal funding from being used to implement these directives.

Civil service agencies, contractors, and grant recipients should all have the opportunity to pursue workplace training excellence for the sake of their employees and the communities they serve.