In a slew of letters addressed to 26 agency leaders, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Subcommittee on Governmental Operations Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) want to know how many government employees carry out official time functions during the workday.
Just when Congress is considering tougher penalties for Veterans Affairs employees engaged in misconduct, the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association have asked lawmakers to investigate a "hit list" created by the American Federation of Government Employees, VA's largest labor union.
Two Georgia lawmakers have both introduced bills that would bar federal employees from conducting union work while on the clock. OPM data shows official time has been on the rise since fiscal 2008.
GAO finds discrepancies in OPM data on union-related work by federal employees. OPM admits that official time reporting is not a priority.
After months of urging from lawmakers, the Office of Personnel Management released a new report on official time, including data from fiscal year 2012. Official time hours totaled nearly 3.5 million in FY 2012, with cost estimates at $157 million, according to OPM's data.
Two Republican members of the House want to know how many hours federal employees are spending on union-related business while on the job. Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta urging the agency to release updated data on employees' use of "official time." The most recent year for which data is available is from 2011.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced a bill to eliminate official time for federal employees. Official time is the paid time that employees spend on union work.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee members pressed Katherine Archuleta on her qualifications, how she will address the retirement claims backlog and on the use of official time. Archuleta appears headed down the path toward confirmation.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has written to Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, saying the office should take steps to offload federal workers and contractors who don't show up for work, aren't performing official duties or "are simply not working at all." In the letter, Coburn, the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said doing so could prevent the need to furlough critical employees under sequestration.
OPM issued its fiscal 2011 Official Time report. The data shows employees, on average, spent 2.82 hours on union-related work during official hours. The cost of official time also increased by almost 12 percent.
House Oversight and Government Reform members disagreed on the whether federal employees should perform union activities during the work day. A bill banning official time has been introduced which AFGE says would all but end collective bargaining rights.