Federal employees spent about 3.4 million hours performing union duties while on the clock in 2011, according to an unreleased Office of Personnel Management (OPM) report made public in a November 26 Federal Times article. This amount of time, referred to as “official time,” cost the federal government $155 million. It represents an 11 percent increase in the amount of official time in 2010.
This information comes from leaks inside the administration. Labor policy analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) say it’s time for OPM Director John Berry to expedite release of the OPM report, which details the increase in official time.
“President Obama brags he has put in place the ‘toughest transparency rules of any administration in history,’” said Matt Patterson, director of CEI’s Labor Project. “Yet this OPM report remains unavailable for public scrutiny.
“Voters and their elected representatives deserve a full accounting of how tax dollars are being used to subsidize Big Labor, the leaders of which have been among President Obama’s most ardent supporters.”
Patterson commended the efforts of U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., who issued a letter to Berry on Nov. 30 that stated: “[W]e feel that it is imperative for Congress and the American public to have access to timely and accurate official time reports.”
No one disputes the right for workers to form a union, Patterson emphasized. “But when unions use the government to secure for themselves privileged status and perks, when they use the levers of power to funnel public money into their private coffers, they break a sacred covenant of free government, which works only when and if the law is applied equally and to all.”
Read more about official time on CEI’s OpenMarket blog.