New legislation would eliminate 'official time'

With ‘official time’ being a top issue of concern under the Trump Administration, legislation introduced last week would eliminate its use altogether, Federal Times reports.

Currently, federal employees that serve as representatives for their agency’s official union have the right to perform certain union duties while on the clock—“official time” — but, a bill introduced by Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) would eliminate official time entirely by removing its protections outlined in Title 5 of U.S. Code, according to the report.

The article notes that the Office of Personnel Management’s most recent evaluation of official time use found that approximately 2.95 hours of official time are used per bargaining unit employee in the federal government, which costs the government over $177 million in salary expenses.

Reader comments

Tue, Jul 30, 2019 Robert C. Laity Tonawanda, N.Y.

Collective Bargaining is in the interest of both Management and Employees. That has been a longstanding policy of our Government. I know. I worked for the Federal Government both as an employee and as a Union Steward and officer for (42+) years. It would detract from this policy if Stewards are now asked to forfeit their pay and management is not. That is on it's face unfair when, as I said, it is in the interest of both Management and the Bargaining Unit to resolve disputes. I agree that abuse of Official time by either a Steward or Management is not desired. Doing away with it altogether is equally undesirable as well as unfair. A Steward, when engaged in Collective Bargaining, is after all advancing the mission of the respective agency., working to improve productivity and employee morale, which benefits both parties involved,management and employees.

Tue, Jul 30, 2019

This is in response to the person who wrote about, "all it takes is one bad mgr to ruin a career of a loyal, hardworking...employee." I already commented on the 9-case per day caseload we have. Regarding this comment, I used to be that hardworking, loyal employee with ambitions to promote. I got involved in as many projects as I could and did my best to stand out. I am so burned out. I have no desire to promote, and once I finish a current project, that will be my last. All I care about is doing what I need to do to survive the job the go home. Right now I spend my weekends"casing" bars and pubs, having dinner at restaurant bars and getting to know bartenders. If I can get a bartender job, I will seriously consider leaving SSA. I had money saved for a nice car. I will probably wipe out my savings to pay off my house, keep the old car, and quit for bartending. I currently have 13 years total time. No way I can stay for the 20.

Tue, Jul 30, 2019

tick tock tick tock

Tue, Jul 30, 2019

I have been a union steward for 5 mos now, something I started because of what I see in the office in which I work. As a disability examiner (Social Security Admin), we get 9 cases per day, regardless of page #of med records. Usually they are 2-500 pages, but I have seen a case w 8000 pages, and my friend recently had a case over 10000 pages. 9 cases per day. We are the quality reviewers for decisions that have already been made. If the decision is not supported by the evidence, we write it up. We can't possibly write up every error we see. The result? some cases that were allowed, when they should have been denied, get cleared as clean. This is grossly unfair to the taxpaying public, especially when I heard an admin law judge state that the average lifetime disability payment totals $250k for one person. On the other hand, there are cases that were denied that should have been allowed, that might also be cleared thru the system without reversal. This could be a detriment to someone about to lose a house. In our office, we often get a full load of 9 cases even on days off. Days near holidays that have a high volume of employees taking off (Friday July 5th is a good example)-mgmt smiles in your face, explains that they don't want to deny anyone's leave request so everyone is allowed to be off but have to take cases regardless. The only thing w that is I know the other 9 offices don't do that. If we take a half day off for a dr appt, cases are not prorated, we get the full 9. Breaks and lunches are a luxury that no one has time for. The situation is so oppressive with a union; it will surely exacerbate wo union representation. SSA is extremely flawed. It is a very poor servant to the American public and an oppressive employer for the workers who serve the public.

Tue, Jul 30, 2019 Southeastern, PA

I am a retiree and was a steward for five years. I would be willing to work for the union on my own time if official time is limited or removed.

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