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House Oversight Probes Gov Workers Using Work Hours for Union Activities

The House Oversight Committee is launching an inquiry into how often government workers partake in union activities while they are supposed to be working. The investigation is spearheaded by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA). These leaders are seeking documents and information from 23 agencies to shed light on the extent of employees engaging in union duties during official work hours.

According to Comer, taxpayers have a right to know if their money is funding union activities and if federal workers are misusing their time on the job. The committee aims to uncover potential widespread abuse of official time and its impact on agency operations.

The targeted agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the Social Security Administration, among others. The investigation was prompted by concerns about the alleged pervasive misuse of official time, which allows certain federal workers to use work hours for collective bargaining activities.

The Republican leaders expressed worry that excessive official time usage could lead to a decline in employees’ job skills and, consequently, a negative impact on agency operations, efficiency, and customer service quality. They also criticized the Biden administration for appearing to hinder transparency regarding the use of official time, despite President Biden’s supportive stance on unions.

The Oversight Committee has urged the agencies to provide requested information by June 20, including the number of employees who used 100% official time and their salaries, as well as the aggregate amount of official time used and the associated costs. This effort aligns with the broader Republican initiative to oversee federal employment practices, including telework and the return to in-person work post-COVID-19.

Earlier, the committee confronted the Office of Management and Budget for purportedly neglecting data-driven decisions that would benefit taxpayers. Moreover, then-Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja’s testimony on in-person workforce figures drew criticism from Republicans for lacking specific details.

In conclusion, the House Oversight Committee’s investigation aims to ensure transparency and accountability in government agencies and address concerns about potential misuse of official time by federal employees.

Written by Staff Reports

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