NLRB Leads Government in Use of Paid Union Time

Federal law specifies that government employees be granted so-called “official time” to work on union duties. The Office of Personnel Management defines official time as “time spent by Federal employees performing representational work for a bargaining unit in lieu of their regularly assigned work.” This time can not be used for other union business, only representing employees.

In 2011 OPM says government employees spent a total of 3,395,187 hours on union representational activities, which is 10 percent above FY 2010. The cost of funding this union work during business hours was $155.7

OPM also keeps track of an “official time rate” for each government agency. Perhaps not surprisingly the agency with the highest per-capita use of official time is the National Labor Relations Board. NLRB used 12.38 hours per employee, meaning each of the NLRB’s 1,043 employees required a day and a half of paid representation over the course of FY 2011. The cost of that time was $768,465.14.


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