…to decertify public “service” unions. And to terminate for cause the government’s “negotiators” for agreeing to such a thing.
Under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act, “official time” was named, and it allows public service union members to use company time—that is, time they’re formally working for the government in a government job as a government employee—to do union administrative things. Doing union-specific work on the government’s clock also means they’re being paid by the government—by us taxpayers—to do union, and not government, work.
The thinking behind this little fillip was the premise that the union bargains in the name of all government employees, whether they’re union members or not, and this was a way to compensate the union for those alleged extra costs.
Like all sweetheart deals, this one has gotten out of hand.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, in 2012 (the most recent year there are statistics for) federal workers spent 3.4 million man-hours on union issues and not the work they were hired for. OPM estimates the cost to taxpayers was more than $157 million.
What’s more, at two government agencies that would seem least able to afford a loss of manpower—the Veterans Affairs Department and IRS—hundreds of workers spent 100% of their time doing union work. At the VA, 259 employees worked solely on union issues. At the IRS—which only disclosed their statistics when the National Review sent them a Freedom of Information Act request—the number was 201.
But wait—there’s more:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 939,000 federal workers belonged to a union in 2014. Another 139,000 were covered by collective bargaining agreements, but weren’t in a union. That brings the total number of employees covered by the unions to 31.6% of the total federal workforce.
However, there’s no requirement for any union to bargain for non-union employees, nor is there any requirement for any employer—even the government—to apply union contract terms to non-union members. Indeed, there’s no requirement for non-union employees to accept union contract terms as their own employment terms.
And so there are no costs for bargaining for the benefit of non-union employees. There never has been, requirement or cost; those are just fictions peddled by self-serving union leadership in order to get more money for union coffers.
Hence my call for decertification and termination.