Labor Law

AFL-CIO's Letter Opposing Amendments to Limit the Use of Official Time

Dear Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member McCaskill:

The AFL-CIO strongly urges you to oppose any and all amendments to limit the use of official time that we expect Senator Paul to offer at tomorrow Committee mark-up.

By law, official time is limited to federal agency activities that both the union and the agency agree are reasonable, necessary and in the public interest. Agency officials are able to oversee the use, management, and scheduling of official time based on the immediate needs of their respective agencies. Official time may not be used for union business, such as collecting dues, conducting union elections, or recruiting employees to join the union. Not only is it a longstanding and important federal government tool in that it gives agencies the ability to seek and incorporate employee input in addressing agency mission-related challenges, it also helps bring swift closure to conflicts that arise in the workplace.

Curtailing the use of official time would significantly impede the union’s ability to provide fair representation, and make it more difficult for the union to work with management to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of government. Senator Paul’s amendments would undermine the right of federal employees to union representation and we urge you to reject them.