The Environment Protection Agency plans to “vastly widen” the ability of its union works to telecommute. According to Joyce Howell, Vice President and chief negotiator for American Federation of Government Employees Local 3631 (AFGE), noted that the new plan will keep skilled employees from leaving for other jobs. One of the agreements between the Union and the EPA doubles the number of days allowed for telecommuting from two to four, meaning for a typical five-day workweek, employees virtually never have to come into the office. Even further, another agreement lets employees designate a non-EPA location as their as their official, full-time workplace. This potentially enables employees to never come into office at all. The range of hours employees are allowed to work has also been expanded from 6 AM to 7 PM to 5 AM to 8 PM. And if a worker is denied the benefit of these new telecommute privileges, they can initiate a grievance. Vice President Howell summarized these developments, “I think this administration is getting that we are a great asset of the U.S. . . . We’re going to be able to attract and keep the best people.”

Kellogg Co., the cereal giant, is nearing a deal with members of its 1,400-worker strong union, potentially ending a nearly two-month long strike. The potentially agreement with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union includes “an accelerated, defined path to legacy wages and benefits for transitional employees, and wage increases and enhanced benefits for all,” according to Kellogg. A large sticking point during negotiations is the two-tier employment structure at the company, separated between longer-term “legacy” workers and shorter-term “transition workers,” who can “graduate” into the higher legacy worker pay and benefits. The new agreement calls to simply implement “legacy” status to all employees working for longer than four years. This would include a “3% graduation rate at each plant each year of the five-year contract” and “3% wage increase for legacy workers upon ratification, with cost-of-living adjustments thereafter,” according to Kellogg. The Union plans to hold a vote on December 5th.

The BuzzFeed News Union staged a walkout at the online newspaper’s office today after nearly two years of contract negotiations. Today is also the same day of BuzzFeed company vote on whether to take the firm public through a blank-check company, known in the financial industry as a SPAC. Writing on Twitter, the Union said, “BuzzFeed won’t budge on critical issues like wages—all while preparing to go public and make executives even richer. . . . There is no BuzzFeed News without us, and we’re walking out today to remind management of that fact.” Among the concerns the Union is confronting are BuzzFeed’s failure to move above its proposed salary floor of $50,000 — not enough to live off of in a major city — as well as the company’s attempts to regulate the creative work the news staff do outside of their jobs. A bargaining session is set for Tuesday.