Federal Gov’t Spent $134.6 Million on Big Labor Payroll Subsidies

According to a new report, the Federal Government paid government employees for 3.43 million hours that they worked exclusively on union activities.  Using the Washington Post’s average federal employee pay of $78,500, that comes to $134,627,500 (not including tax-payer paid-for extravagant federal employee benefits) that the taxpayer is subsidizing this crony unionism.  On top o that, many of these taxpayer payrolled union jobs, so-called ‘official time’ positions, are full-time  — essentially making these jobs no-show federal government jobs.

This a de-facto forced labor union dues payment by every taxpayer.  And, this union payroll subsidy appears to happen in every state; and, even on local levels like in Fairfax County in Right to Work Virginia.

In an interview with a government employee who received official time, I was told by him that during his official time he was sent by his union bosses from Maryland, where he worked, to Pennsylvania to work on a federal election.  You can safely bet that some of these federal “official time” dollars are going to just that.

If congress is not going to end this $134.6 million plus subsidy to Big Labor, then  there needs to be an IG audit of activity during ‘official time’ hours.  With federal elections going on now, it would be great time to begin the audit.

Veterans Affairs Department reported the most total hours spent on official time in fiscal 2012                – 1.1 million hours

From the Government Executive:

Federal employees spent  more time at work on union activities in fiscal 2012 than they did in fiscal 2011, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management. Feds spent 3.43 million hours of “official time” on union business across government in fiscal 2012, compared to 3.39 million hours in fiscal 2011.

The extra [official] time and money devoted to union activities is growing.The cost of official time used by federal employees participating in union activities increased nearly 7 percent between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009; OPM found that federal employees spent nearly 3 million hours of official time on union activities in 2009 at a cost of $129 million to taxpayers, an increase of $8 million from fiscal 2008.

Individual increases and decreases in official time among the 62 agencies included in OPM’s October 2014 report, however, varied widely. For instance, the time that Smithsonian employees spent on official time spiked 2,005 percent between fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012 – from 77.75 hours to 1,637 hours. Twenty-nine of the 62 agencies reported reductions in the number of official times hours used.

The Veterans Affairs Department reported the most total hours spent on official time in fiscal 2012 – 1.1 million hours – followed by the Treasury Department [IRS] with 580,490 hours. The National Labor Relations Board reported the most hours per bargaining unit employee (11.73) in fiscal 2012. Unions represent sixty percent of the non-postal federal workforce; at VA, two-thirds of the workforce belongs to a union.

In March, Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., sent a letter to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta asking for a report on fiscal 2012 official time data in April. “Given that this information should be readily available – as agencies are supposed to document the use of official time – we feel confident that the continued production of the official time report should be possible and that its release will be expedient,” the lawmakers wrote at the time.

OPM pitched its latest report as a more comprehensive look at labor-management relations in government today. “Recognizing that many of the benefits achieved through improved labor-management relations can be difficult to quantify, we hope to tell a more complete story than previously reported,” the agency said in the summary.