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Chicken Little Lives Vicariously Through Federal Union Bosses

We know the story of Chicken Little. The little chick thought the sky was falling because he was hit in the head by an acorn. He convinced the other barnyard animals that the sky was falling and soon they were all in hysterics.

Well, when it comes to sequestration cuts impact on federal employees, union officials have adopted a Chicken Little approach. Feeding Big Labor’s frenzy is tomorrow’s March 1 sequestration deadline with no deal to delay budget cuts in sight.

For the past few weeks, federal union leaders have been lobbying anyone who will listen to deflect cuts away from federal workers in favor of anything else. Today in U.S. News and World Report, I criticize these union officials, which many never do any government work:

When President Carter signed the Civil Service Reform Act in 1978, he said he did so to "promote the general welfare, contribute to the effective conduct of public business and to facilitate and encourage amicable settlements of labor-management disputes." He said nothing about creating dozens of jobs within government devoted solely to the conduct of union business. But that is precisely what has happened.

According to records obtained by Americans for Limited Government through Freedom of Information Act requests, the Department of Transportation had 35 employees who did nothing but union work in 2012, and the Environment Protection Agency had 17. All 52 made at least $72,000 per year, and 37 made more than $100,000.

While collective bargaining in government creates countless opportunities for waste, union official time, which allows federal employees to perform union activities while paid by taxpayers, represents the most egregious detriment to the public interest emanating from collective bargaining. But that’s not all, according to the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA), official time is a crucial cog in the machine of collective bargaining, which, they say, safeguards the public interest.

To all proponents of collective bargaining in government and official time, if it really served the public interest, why not quantify its benefits and publically disclose them to the public? Why has the Office of Personnel Management resisted disclosing the official time data in a timely fashion and no agency or union has ever attempted to quantify the direct public benefits resulting from union official time?

Well, under the CSRA’s logic then government should dissolve itself in the “public interest.”