The U.S. Department of Veterans has long been paying certain employees to conduct labor union business on the taxpayer dime, but today the agency announced it would be putting 430 of those medical professionals back to work serving the health needs of veterans. Competitive Enterprise Institute labor policy expert Trey Kovacs, who earlier testified before Congress about ending so-called union official time, praised today’s announcement:
“The Veterans Department did the right thing by putting medical professionals back to work for veterans. Unfortunately, the VA had been permitting hundreds of employees to conduct union business for years, which cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars annually. No federal employee should be allowed to spend their work hours on an activity other than the job they were hired to do. Reducing the use of official time will help the agency care for veterans and operate more efficiently. Other federal agencies should follow the Department of Veterans Affairs lead and move federal employees back to serving the public rather than their union.
“Further, union officials frequently complain that the Department of Veterans Affairs is understaffed. Moving these medical professionals from taxpayer-funded union business back to serving veterans helps to alleviate those concerns.”
- View Trey Kovacs’s 2018 testimony before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Operations and 2017 testimony to Subcommittees on Use of Official time at the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Related: Guidance on How to Curtail Time Federal Employees Spend Performing Union Business