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CVC Employees Union Seeks ‘Change in Management Philosophy’

Following the firing of the head of the Capitol Visitor Center, a union aiming to represent the center’s employees sent a letter Wednesday to the Architect of the Capitol urging him to not just change the organization’s head, but also its culture.

“You have taken the first steps towards correcting an untenable situation at the CVC,” wrote Carl Goldman, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 26. “In hiring a new CEO, the Capitol Visitor Center needs not only a change in personality, but also a change in management philosophy.”

In early June, 18 tour guides and visitor assistants wrote a letter to about 30 Members of Congress informing them of their intention to organize a chapter under AFSCME because of deep discontent with CVC management.

Terrie Rouse was fired Tuesday after a three-year tenure as CEO for visitor services at the CVC, a stint marred by employees’ unease and allegations of being unresponsive to Members of Congress.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers has appointed Dan Cassil, who was the deputy CEO for visitor services, to replace Rouse as acting CEO for visitor services.

Goldman wrote in his letter that Ayers should hire a chief executive who will value employees.

“Management has put the visiting public and employees in potentially dangerous situations through the mishandling of suspicious substances,” he wrote. “It has endangered employees’ health by limiting Visitor Assistants’ access to water when working outside on hot days, and has only provided them with light weight jackets when working outside during the winter.”

“In some situations, Guides have been unable to reach supervisors on their hand held radios when members of the public or Congressional staff have fallen ill while on tours,” the letter continues. “In other situations, supervisors have been totally unresponsive to such emergencies, forcing Guides to seek out Capitol Police, potentially losing valuable time.”

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