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Feds Might Not Be Able To Hide Tax-Payer Union Work Much Longer

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Federal employees may not be able to hide union business done on taxpayers’ dime much longer.

Government workers have long conducted union work on the clock while collecting their taxpayer-funded salaries, with little public attention. But a new bill making its way through Congress would require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — the federal government’s human resources arm — to track and report all taxpayer dollars funding such “official time,” how many federal employees are working for unions on the clock, and what specific union activities they’re performing.

The legislation, sponsored by Florida Republican Rep. Dennis Ross, is headed to the Committee of the Whole House of the State of the Union after the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform amended and approved it earlier this week. Oversight sent letters to 26 federal agencies in February, demanding the names and salaries of agency employees using official time to  carry out a union’s bidding.

OPM has sporadically reported on official time, but hasn’t released information more recent than fiscal year 2012. Federal employees spent 3.4 million hours on union work that year, according to OPM.

The bill has little chance of getting past the president’s desk.

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