Government Subsidizes Unions through “Official Time”

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from NCPA,

With a backlog of almost 1 million unprocessed benefit claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is shocking that over 250 of the department’s employees are on “official time,” doing no work for veterans. It sounds unbelievable to most of us who have to show up at work to do a job, but “official time” is time when federal workers spend time working for their unions and not working for taxpayers, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

A report published in February by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) states, “Official time, broadly defined, is paid time off from assigned Government duties to represent a union or its bargaining unit employees.”

Republican senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rob Portman of Ohio, in a June 5 letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, said, “Documents show that your department recently employed at least 85 VA nurses, some with six-figure salaries, who were in 100 percent official time status. At the same time, the department is recruiting more people to fill open nursing positions.”

Paying government employees to work for unions is wrong at any time, but especially when federal employees are being furloughed during the sequester and the VA is taking months to give veterans the benefits they are rightly owed by Uncle Sam.

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