Limits Big Labor’s Privilege to Bill Taxpayers For Union Business
National Right to Work leaders, who urged Donald Trump when he first took office to use his executive power to curtail government union bosses’ ability to conduct union business while billing taxpayers for their time and expenses, are moderately encouraged by a presidential executive order issued this spring.
Executive Order 13837, signed by the President on May 25, and implementing regulations officially released a few weeks later address the abusive practice known as “official time.” Official time stems from widespread union monopoly bargaining at federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
According to the White House’s Office of Personnel Management, in 2016 federal employees racked up a total of 3.6 million official time hours during which they were paid by taxpayers to represent a government union rather than carry out the missions of their agencies.
Union Bosses Have Been Paid by the Government To Sue the Government!
E.O.13837 aims to lessen the anti-taxpayer impact of official time by prohibiting lobbying while on federal time, prohibiting government managers from allowing union bosses to use federal property for free, and prohibiting the use of federal time to file union grievances against federal employers.
“For decades,” noted National Right to Work Committee Vice President Mary King, “union bosses have been paid by the federal government to file ‘unfair labor practice’ claims against the government, often on behalf of unmotivated and/or unruly federal employees.
“This is a completely indefensible misuse of taxpayers’ money, and it is commendable of President Trump to attempt to put a stop to it.
“But official time is only a manifestation of an underlying problem that needs to be dealt with through federal legislation.”
Ms. King continued: “Federal union operatives’ taxpayer-funded exploitation of the grievance process to thwart efforts to remove poor performers and disciplinary problems from the workforce illustrates why the so-called Civil Service ‘Reform’ Act [CSRA] ought to be repealed by Congress as soon as possible.”
The CSRA, signed by Big Labor President Jimmy Carter in 1978, statutorily imposes union monopoly bargaining over employee disciplinary procedures and other work rules.
Effectively, this four-decade-old law makes power-mad federal union bosses like American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President J. David Cox co-managers over hundreds of thousands of civil service employees.
Top Bosses of Government Unions Are Now Suing the Trump Administration
“E.O.13837 is a step in the right direction,” explained Ms. King.
“But until the day Congress finally steps up to the plate and repeals all the monopoly-bargaining provisions in the CSRA, federal taxpayers, conscientious civil servants, and Americans who depend on assistance from federal agencies like the VA will continue to get hurt.”
As this Newsletter edition goes to press in early July, it is not even clear if the modest reform embodied by E.O.13837 will stand.
Mr. Cox and other AFGE officials, along with the hierarchies of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and a number of other government unions, have already filed suit against the Trump Administration.
Their goal is to overturn E.O.13837 and other executive actions taken by the President to improve the operations of the federal government.
“As a consequence of congressionally-authorized union monopoly bargaining, federal union kingpins are basically accountable only to themselves,” charged Ms. King.
She cited a poll conducted in June by the Government Business Council, the research arm of Government Executive Media Group, showing that by a two-to-one margin federal workers actually support the Trump Administration’s efforts to remove impediments to the dismissal of poorly performing employees.
The same poll found that well over half of federal employees have a “neutral,” “negative,” or “very negative” view of federal employee unions.
“The majority of rank-and-file federal employees as well as taxpayers would benefit from repeal of the misbegotten CSRA. The Right to Work Committee stands ready to assist all efforts by freedom-loving members of Congress to revoke federal union bosses’ special privileges,” Ms. King concluded.