OPM takes first steps to begin restricting union activities
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- Jul 09, 2018
The Office of Personnel Management as of July 9 has instructed agency leaders to begin implementing requirements of the three workforce executive orders that target union activities while on the job.
On May 25, President Trump signed three EOs that will 1) limit the amount of time an employee can be under investigation for misconduct and encourages firings for underperformers, 2) states that employees who conduct union activities while on the job must spend at least 75 percent of their time doing government work and 3) calls for the Office of Personnel Management to renegotiate contracts with unions regarding the reporting of official time instead of working directly with individual agencies.
OPM on July 5 issued guidance that outlines how leaders can move forward with enforcing the new rules.
Under the new rule, as of July 9, federal employees use of official time will be limited to no more than 25 percent of their total paid time and those who go over that time will be disciplined; they can no longer use government property, such as computers, conference rooms and government issued cellphones to conduct union business; prior consent will be needed from a supervisor to engage in official time activities; and agencies will be required to report the number of official time hours used, permission given and employee pay grade for future official time usage to increase transparency.
“President Trump has recognized the importance of strategic workforce management, placing it at the top of his agenda for modernizing the federal government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes, provide excellent service, and effectively steward taxpayer dollars,” the guidance states. It continues, “In support of this important effort, setting sensible standards for granting and using taxpayer-funded union time by federal employees for labor-management relations activities is necessary to meet the needs and expectations of agencies, employees, and the ultimate customers – the American people.“