It’s Official: Federal Employees Do $155 Million in Union Work

Feb 22, 2013

How does that Dire Straits song go? "That ain't working. That's the way you do it. Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free."

But when it comes to getting union work out of federal employees, it ain't free for the U.S. taxpayer. 

Federal employees performing union work while on the clock at their government jobs cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $155 million in 2011, according to the newest report from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). This is a 12% increase from 2010 and the highest in any year since the OPM started to collect the data voluntarily in 2002.

All told, it adds up to a staggering 3.4 million total hours spent on so-called “official time,” a practice which lets government officials do work for unions while being paid by the taxpayer.

Sean Higgins at The Washington Examiner notes that although these numbers are higher than recent years, it is still less than the peak of 4.7 million hours in 2002.

Official time isn’t just a problem at the federal level, but also at the municipal or state government level. In Arizona, lawmakers have introduced several bills to restrict public-employee unions, including Senate Bill 1348, which would prohibit a public employee from doing union activities during paid work time.

Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, defended the bills. “I don’t think there is an attack on public-sector unions,” she said. “When dealing with our money and taxpayer money, that’s when we need to put some brakes on.”

[H/t  LaborUnionReport at Redstate]

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