AFGE opposes bill amending official time law

 

AFGE opposes bill amending official time law

March 9, 2017 (Photo Credit: cyano66 via Getty Images)
The American Federation of Government Employees opposes a House bill the federal employee union claims would limit federal employees’ access to union representation.

“[The Official Time Reform Act of 2017] is a blatant attempt to bust federal employee unions and silence the voice of workers in decisions that impact not only their jobs, but services the American people rely on,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a news release.

According to the AFGE, the legislation targets federal employees’ use of official time, capping the amount union volunteers can spend providing representational work or meeting with agency leaders to discuss workplace improvements. In addition, a financial disincentive is created for employees to volunteer as union representatives by cutting their pension accrual for any time spent on representational work above the arbitrary caps.

“This legislation creates a form of micromanaging that will tie the hands of supervisors and agency officials when it comes to scheduling meetings, legal proceedings, and non-official time work for union representatives, ultimately discouraging the use of official time,” said the AFGE in an official letter of opposition sent to Sens. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Republicans Defend Official Time but Say No One Should Use It Full Time

Republicans Defend Official Time but Say No One Should Use It Full Time

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., says he supports the practice if it isn't overused.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., says he supports the practice if it isn’t overused. Susan Walsh/AP

 

Lawmakers expressed at a hearing Thursday bipartisan acceptance for the utility of federal union members conducting representational activity on the taxpayers’ dime, but Republicans drew the line at those who do no government work whatsoever.

Subcommittee leaders on the House Oversight and Veterans’ Affairs panels promised reforms to the practice of official time, saying it is being used in excess to the detriment of government efficiency. Lawmakers called the joint hearing after a Government Accountability Office report found the Veterans Affairs Department maintains no agency-wide procedures for recording and tracking official time use. VA employees reported just more than 1 million hours on official time in fiscal 2015, though GAO called that data unreliable.

Continue reading “Republicans Defend Official Time but Say No One Should Use It Full Time”

Head of Largest VA Union Urges Lawmakers to Protect Workers’ Representation Rights

Head of Largest VA Union Urges Lawmakers to Protect Workers’ Representation Rights

Use of official time by union representatives results in better care for veterans, AFGE leader says

AFGE logo. (PRNewsFoto/American Federation of Government Employees) (PRNewsFoto/AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOV...)

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American Federation of Government Employees

Feb 16, 2017, 16:28 ET

In testimony delivered today before two House subcommittees, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said employee representatives at the Department of Veterans Affairs have used the process called official time to work with employees and managers to resolve disputes, address issues of discrimination and retaliation, and effect improvements in the workplace that benefit veterans.

 

Continue reading “Head of Largest VA Union Urges Lawmakers to Protect Workers’ Representation Rights”