Government Unions Wasted 28% Less Of Taxpayer Money Doing Union Business Last Year


Taxpayers spent 28% less on federal government unions doing union business on government time in FY 2019, according to a new report by the Office of Personnel Management. Joe Biden has promised to undo that.

Last year, taxpayers spent significantly less money paying union officials to conduct union business on government (taxpayers’) time, according to a report issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has battled with federal unions to reduce their power in the federal workplace.

Specifically, Trump issued three executive orders—which unions fought and eventually lost—to “shorten the length of performance improvement plans to 30 days, exempt adverse personnel actions from grievance proceedings, streamline collective bargaining negotiations, and significantly reduce the number of work hours union members can spend on official time.”

“Official time,” according to the OPM, “is paid time spent by Federal employees performing representational work for a bargaining unit in lieu of their regularly assigned work.”

“In other words,” the OPM notes, “the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) has equated official time to be the same as work time or hours of work.”

The problem with “official time” is noted in the OPM’s report:

“Large amounts of official time allocated to agency employees conducting activities on behalf of unions have resulted in widespread diversion of resources from agency mission-critical functions. In many cases, where agency union representatives serve as full-time union officials, agencies are no longer able to rely on employees even for a portion of their duty time, tocomplete the duties of the positions for which they were hired.”

Since the Trump administration won its legal fight with the government unions, according to the OPM’s report, fewer taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for union business inside the federal workplace.

“During FY 2019, unions represented 1,329,222 non-Postal Federal civil service bargaining unit employees. Agencies reported that bargaining unit employees spent a total of 2,606,390 hours performing representational duties on taxpayer-funded union time, a decrease of 28.26 percent compared to FY 2016.

“Way back in 2016, the federal government spent $174,789,810 on official time for federal employee union representatives,” reported the website

Of course, if Joe Biden is confirmed in January as the next President of the United States, he has promised to remove Trump’s executive orders.

“In January 2021, newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden is likely to pull back those same [executive] orders, according to union members, who say the orders have weakened their ability to ensure rank and file staffers are treated fairly,” reported on Wednesday.

If that does occur, one can expect unions to immediately expand their use of “official time.”

OPM on Union Use of Officia… by FedSmith Inc.

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