Official time use: vital for feds or a waste of time?

Federal Times cited Trey Kovacs on the negative impact which official time imposes on dispute resolution in the bargaining process. 

Federal employee use of official time is on the rise, though whether the use of that time is actually beneficial for government operations varies from expert to expert.

Official time is defined as time certain federal employees use to conduct union duties, such as collective bargaining negotiations or representation of employees who file grievances, and is protected under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Activities under official time must be deemed “reasonable, necessary and in the public interest,” and employees using official time must act to represent all employees, not just members of the union.

However, Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said that official time does more to waste taxpayer dollars than aid in the resolution of disputes.

“Official time leads to the filing of frivolous grievances by federal employee unions. This is a predictable outcome, because federal employee unions are granted near-unlimited official time to prepare and file grievances and defend employees during appeals procedures,” Kovacs said.

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