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OpenMarket: Trey Kovacs

  • Time to End Official Time

    April 3, 2017

    The Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1364) would prohibit federal employees from conducting political activity on union official time. Union official time is taxpayer-funded subsidy to federal employee unions that pays for federal employees’ salary and benefits while they perform union business—including attending union conventions, lobbying Congress, and filing grievances, instead of the federal work they were hired to do.



    The bill calls for federal employees to lose service credit, which counts toward pension and bonuses, if they perform union business for 80 percent or more of the hours in a workday.



    According to the...

  • SEIU Spending Big on Fight for $15

    April 3, 2017

    Why has the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) spent at least $19 million last year and $90 million since 2012 financing the Fight for 15 when nearly all union members earn more than the minimum wage?



    In most respects, the Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign has been a failure. Despite loads of union cash, the Fight for 15 has not achieved its policy goal of a $15 minimum wage and failed to organize fast-food restaurants.



    If you read the SEIU’s press clippings, it supports a $15 minimum wage because it is a way to lift low wage workers out of poverty. But an abundance of research on the effects of minimum wages on low-skill workers shows it reduces...

  • Seattle Forced Union Dues Scheme Faces Legal Challenge

    March 30, 2017

    In 2015, the City of Seattle enacted a misguided ordinance that allows Uber and Lyft drivers, who operate as independent contractors, the privilege to collectively bargain. This March, the city selected the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 117 as ride-share drivers’ exclusive representative.



    Two legal challenges have been levied against the first of its kind legislation that permits independent contractors to unionize. Today, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington will hear arguments in the case filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against the City of Seattle, in which the trade association is asking for a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the ordinance.



    The Chamber’s court filing cites several deficiencies with the...

  • Columnist Misrepresents Civil Service Reforms

    March 29, 2017

    In a recent column, The Washington Post’s Joe Davidson presents a gravely distorted view of Republican civil service reform efforts, which seek to save taxpayer money and attempt to clean up the mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Davidson describes these legislative fixes as undercutting “worker due process rights” and “weaken labor organizations.”



    Provoking Davidson’s ire is the Official Time Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 1364), introduced by Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), to prohibit federal employees from conducting political activity on union official time, the practice of paying federal employees to perform union business instead of federal work. In...

  • President Trump Expected to Block Blacklisting Rule

    March 27, 2017

    Today, President Trump is expected to approve a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to repeal what is known as the Blacklisting rule. Upon signing, federal government agencies are prohibited from issuing a similar regulation. The regulation stems from a 2014 Executive Order that established excessive reporting requirements on federal contractors.



    In short, the Blacklisting rule requires contractors who bid on federal contracts over $500,000 to report alleged, as well as actual labor violations over the last three years. Reported violations can be used to block a company’s bid.



    As I previously wrote:



    This is exactly the kind of red tape...

  • New Report: Federal Employee Union Subsidy Costs $162 million

    March 27, 2017

    Last Friday afternoon, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released its biennial report, “Official Time Usage in the Federal Government—Fiscal Year 2014.”



    The survey uses a flimsy methodology to calculate how much time federal employees spend performing union business instead of serving the taxpayer. In FY 2014, federal employees spent 3,468,170 hours on official time, at a total cost of $162,522,763.18—a $5 million dollar increase from FY 2012. Unfortunately, union official time undoubtedly costs more than the report suggests.



    A 2014 Government Accountability Office...

  • Mr. Acosta Goes to Washington

    March 22, 2017

    Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee held a hearing on Alexander Acosta’s nomination to be Secretary of Labor. Mr. Acosta came off as smart, accomplished, and an...
  • Court Slaps Down Overreach of Federal Labor Regulators

    March 20, 2017

    Recent research finds that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency that governs most private-sector labor relations, overturned decisions representing over 4,500 years of precedent under the Obama administration. That is...
  • Trump Administration Budget Request Targets Union Slush Fund

    March 16, 2017

    Today the White House released an outline of its 2018 budget. The Trump administration requests a 21 percent decrease to the Department of Labor’s budget, a reduction of $2.5 billion.



    The budget finds savings, in part, through eliminating or cutting back ineffective or duplicative training programs.



    One area in which the budget outline recommends cuts is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) grants:



    Eliminates the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s unproven training grants, yielding savings of almost $11 million from the 2017 annualized CR level and focusing the agency on its central work of keeping workers safe on the job.



    Hopefully, this calls for the elimination of the OSHA Susan Harwood...

  • Takeaways from Browning-Ferris 'Joint Employer' Hearing

    March 9, 2017

    Today I attended oral arguments at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that addressed the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) vague and extremely broad definition of a ...

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