The Spectacle Blog

GOP Congressmen Target Taxpayer Funded Union Activism

By on 2.7.13 | 7:41PM

Tired of unionized government workers who agitate for public policy changes on your dime, at odds with your political preferences?

Then now is a good time to get behind legislation U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) have introduced that would put an end to "official time" -- a controversial practice that allows federal employees to conduct union business during working hours unrelated to their work responsibilities.

In January, Rep. Gingrey introduced HR 107, which would prohibit the federal government from paying employees while they are conducting union business. Rep. Ross is an original co-sponsor. Official time is estimated to have cost taxpayers $1.3 billion over 10 years, according to a press release from the congressman.

Earlier this week, Rep. Ross introduced HR 568, with Rep. Gingrey as an original co-sponsor. The bill calls for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit an annual report to Congress on the use of official time by federal employees.

This is a strong one-two punch that is very deserving of support not just from conservatives, but all concerned taxpayers. Public employees who are part of a union have every right to express themselves and to lobby for policy changes. But they should not be permitted to advance their agenda during working hours at taxpayer expense.

“Rep. Gingrey and I worked together to introduce two bills that would address time reporting by federal employees, specifically as it pertained to union activities,” Ross said in a press release. “In 2011, federal employees spent roughly 3.4 million hours — at a cost of $155 million to the taxpayer — conducting union business while on duty in 2011. At a time when our country is more than $16 trillion in debt, we need to ensure that we are cutting all wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, no matter for which political side the union employees are advocating."

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