In researching government spending, I found THIS which did NOT sit well with me:   In 2012, there were 62 different government agencies having problems with people using ‘official time’ for union activities, special interests and political activity for unions.   They did not illuminate the exact nature of the ‘problems’ they were having.   The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the federal government’s human resources office, is charged with collecting data on official time. According to OPM, federal VA employees logged an estimated 3.4 million hours in official time from 2008 to 2011.  The cost of federal official time rose from $121 million to $155 million, a 28 percent increase in only 3 years. (The cost of this practice is even higher at the state and local level—up to $1 billion a year as of the February 2013 issue of Labor Watch.)

Unfortunately as you may have heard, its LEGAL!  “It’s called “official time,” and it was sanctioned into law by Congress in 1978 to compensate for bargaining benefits to non-union employees from union contracts.  The 2008-2011 hours logged official time was bad enough, but in 2016, out of a total of 3,633,290 official time hours, there were 1,048,569  official time hours charged to Veteran Affairs, the top agency for  official time for what is approximately 10% of all federal employees.

In both of the above cases, that in an incredible amount of  employee paid hours for non-government work.  So doing the math, this is what it looks like.  The average federal wage for 2016 was

Now that is bad enough, but would you believe it, in 2013*, the VA had  257 employees on official time  at the very time when our veterans were dying from lack of medical attention because no one would give them an appointment?   As a taxpayer and an American citizen, these priorities do not reflect my values, and the idea that government workers are paid to do political work for their bargaining association during the time they knew they were needed for critical services is so offensive to me, I cannot begin to express it!

President Trump evidently agreed with us.  He stopped ‘official time’ for health care workers.  

See posts The Shadow Economy, Do the Math, and Shot Me Down 

At a time when we are running huge budget deficits every single year, it is reprehensible that we would have government employees spending 3,633,290  hours each year off the job….PERIOD, union activity or not.  It is long past time this practice be discontinued in every single department and unions to do business after hours.  Formal negotiations the ONLY exception. As a voter with family members who were and still are union members,  I do not feel that is unreasonable if this resulted in lowering the cost of government doing business.

Do the right thing because it is right.

Immanuel Kant

*In 2013 federal workers spent 3.4 million man-hours on union issues at a cost of more than $157 million taxpayer dollars. (Capital Research Center). 

UPDATED  Nov 2018 – 


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