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Some Federal Union Reps Keep Getting Paid During Gov’t Shutdowns

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Ethan Barton Managing Editor

Some government employees can still collect paychecks on the taxpayer’s dime for doing federal union work during a shutdown, according to the government’s human resources agency.

Government employees who are exempted from a shutdown can still use official time — the bureaucratic term that allows federal union representatives to conduct union work on government time, guidance from the Office of Personnel Management shows.

“Exempted employees … serving as union officials may continue to be granted official time to the same extent and in the same manner as they would under non-shutdown conditions,” the guidance said.

“Exempted employees” are government workers who aren’t paid through annual congressional appropriations for various reasons, according to the guidance.

The guidance also describes a “narrow set of circumstances” where official time can be used during a shutdown. A representative can get a government paycheck for union work if they need to assist an employee who’s under an investigation that’s needed “to protect life and property.”

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