Lawmakers whose goal is to get rid of workplace due process, cut pay, and reduce or eliminate health insurance and retirement benefits for federal workers, must first eliminate the biggest obstacle in their path: federal employee unions.
The fastest and most effective way to prevent our union from protecting federal employees either on the job or on Capitol Hill is to end official time for union representatives and prohibit the deduction of union dues from employees’ paychecks.
Official time is provided to federal employee union representatives in order to carry out their duty of fair representation. In the federal government, when employees vote for union representation, the union has a legal obligation to provide representation to every single member of the work unit. But union membership is entirely voluntary, and two-thirds of those who enjoy the benefits of the union chose not to pay dues.
The government allows elected representatives to use “official time,” paid at the elected representative’s regular salary rate, to provide representational services. If not for official time, it would be impossible for the union to carry out its legal duties toward all workers it represents.
The only federal employees who pay union dues are those who choose to do so. Each federal employee in a work unit that has voted for union representation chooses whether to join the union or not. Those who choose to join and pay dues authorize an electronic payment straight from their paycheck, just like they do for the TSP, the CFC, FEHBP, FSAs, or supplemental vision and dental plans.
The effort to prohibit just one item from the list of permissible deductions, union dues, is union-busting at its most crude. Ending official time and/or dues deduction would spell the end of workplace representation, due process and federal unions’ ability to protect their members.