A group of over 300 bureaucrats from Virginia has handed in their resignations in the wake of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin stating, back in May, that all state employees will now be required to show back up in the office to fulfill their work after a stint of over two years doing remote work due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic related lockdowns.
These employee resignations represent workers from over five different state agencies due to the new work mandate handed down from Youngkin, most of them specifically citing “telework options” as their primary reason for tendering their resignations, read a report from ABC 8 News.
“Unfortunately we’re not surprised by this information,” explained Dylan Bishop, a lobbyist for Virginia Governmental Employees Association (VGEA), to the outlet. “We had anticipated that the shift in policy would result in an exodus of workers, which is really concerning because of the state’s recruitment and retention issues.”
Back on the 5th of May, Youngkin officially announced the order that mandated that all state workers would be required to head back to in-person work by the 5th of July to “balance the demands of government services with the needs of our public servants.”
“The governor is excited to welcome the Commonwealth’s workforce back in person and is encouraged by their continued dedication to serving Virginians,” stated Youngkin’s deputy communications director, Rob Damschen, via a release, as reported by ABC 8 News. “We know an office-centric environment fosters collaboration and teamwork and provides an even greater level of service for all Virginians.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) was the group that felt the most pain due in the wake of the governor’s order with a total of 183 employees choosing to resign from the government agency, as read from public records reported by ABC 8 News. One group of VDOT workers put “telework options” as their primary reason for leaving the government agency. Many other VDOT employees claimed compensation issues was the cause of their quitting.
The Virginia Department of Health ended up losing 78 total employees, and the Virginia employment commission lost 38 workers. The Department of Housing and Community Development and the Department of Emergency Management saw the resignation of 13 workers with all of the lost workers leaving between the 5th of May and the first week of July.
The announcement of Youngkin’s change of policy slammed headfirst into harsh and immediate resistance as many of the workers spoke about the burdens of childcare and the climbing gas prices as other reasons they were heavily against being forced back to in-person work. A survey of roughly 400 employees of the state carried out by the VGEA back in early June highlighted that 50% of the total respondents were extremely concerned with the rising gas prices and 25% spoke out about childcare as the main factor for their resistance.
The VGEA officially requested Youngkin issue a delay to his mandate about in-person work out until the 12th of September, but the governor denied the request.