Federal employees should be able to use their work hours to deal with the impact of the data breach that has compromised their personal information, AFGE said in a letter to Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta this week.
AFGE also demanded that employees be allowed to use their government computers to visit their banks, Social Security offices, mortgage holder’s offices, the management office of their apartment complexes, and other creditors to deal with the fallout of having to change credit card and bank account information.
“Many agencies’ computer firewalls – more secure than OPM’s – prevent employees from being able to handle these kinds of transactions online. Thus, they need to be able to bargain over the right to spend duty time attending to these matters,” AFGE said. “I ask you again to communicate with Human Resources representatives in all agencies to remind them of their bargaining obligations on this matter.”
AFGE demands that OPM take full responsibility for the breach. According to OPM, the breach took place sometime last year but wasn’t discovered until April. The agency just publicly announced the data breach in June.
OPM has so far refused to share with AFGE detailed information about the breach.
The union finds it “despicable that while OPM has been willing to address legitimate questions in the aftermath of the breach, your lawyers made sure that you immediately issued a disclaimer attempting to insulate the agency from liability,” AFGE said in the letter. “…OPM should have admitted liability and accepted the consequences. That would have been the right thing to do.”