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Report: Taxpayers Spend Millions to Subsidize Government Unions

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Congress should end a multi-million dollar taxpayer subsidy to federal government unions, a new Competitive Enterprise Institute report urges.

“The practice called ‘official time’ forces taxpayers to subsidize government unions when they give federal workers paid time off to conduct labor union business, like lobbying Congress, rather than doing their jobs,” said Trey Kovacs, CEI labor policy expert and author of the report. “The official time practice is all cost and no benefit for taxpayers. Congress should stop requiring taxpayers to pay for government union activity that they have no say in and may not agree with.”

Key facts on official time include:

  • An estimated one thousand federal employees spend 100 percent of their work time performing union activity instead of the public service they were hired to do.
  • Union dues, not tax dollars, should be spent on union business; and government workers, whether at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Social Security Administration, or any other agency, should return to the public service work they were hired to do.
  • Official time costs taxpayers $162 million annually, according to the government’s most recent estimate.
  • CEI estimates the real cost of official time could be as high as $200 million annually, when you include cost of supplies, office space, and travel-related expenses.
  • The federal government needs to specify what workers are doing on official time. The majority of official time hours—2.7 million hours—were spent on ill-defined activities labeled “General Labor Management.”

View the report: It Is Time to End Official Time: Federal Employees Conducting Union Business on the Clock is a Misuse of Tax Dollars