Wednesday, October 6, 2010

(DC Labor)Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) guides really know their way around Congress. The newly-unionized CVC workers wasted no time exercising their voice at work, testifying last week about workplace safety issues at the Capitol. Megan Burger, a CVC tour guide and member of AFSCME Local 658, testified that since the union formed, CVC management has been much more responsive to employees' needs, which include better inclement-weather uniforms and the ability to bring water bottles outside. Burger testified at a September 30 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, chaired by DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Norton berated the Architect of the Capitol for workplace safety issues and called for studies into ways to make the Capitol complex safer for visitors and employees, reported Daniel Newhauser last week in Roll Call. The hearing was called to examine the safety of the Capitol complex after an Office of Compliance report estimated that there are about 6,300 hazards around legislative branch buildings. The hearing marked the first time that a representative from the newly formed Capitol Visitor Center union, AFSCME Local 658, testified before Congress. In another improvement, CVC workers will be given permanent pagers next month in an effort to improve communication within the Capitol in the event of an emergency such as a terrorist attack. - photo: Megan Burger, AFSCME Local 658 (CVC), testifies in Congress last week; next to her is Wally Reed, President of AFSCME Local 626 (Architect of the Capitol)


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