Francis Rooney files bill to stop union work on taxpayer dime
Francis Rooney gives his exit interview.

Francis Rooney
Legislation would prohibit such duties during paid time off.

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney said he wants federal employees to stop doing union work on the taxpayer dime.

The Naples Republican filed the Do Your Job Act in the hopes of stopping the practice of workers using paid time off for union duties.

“Union official time is a taxpayer-funded subsidy that cost hardworking Americans at least $162.5 million in 2014,” Rooney said.

“Unions and federal agencies never report exactly how many federal workers are being granted official time, and at least hundreds of federal employees spend 100 percent of their time engaging in union activities while on the clock.”

The Office of Personnel Management reports such use of paid vacation has been on the rise.

Between fiscal years 2014 and 2016, the reported use of official time spent working for unions jumped by 7.55 percent. That means in 2016, an estimated $174.8 million was spent paying federal employees actually doing union work.

“This is a clear abuse of taxpayer dollars, and it does nothing to advance the interests of the American people who end up paying for it,” Rooney said.

Not all hold that view. The National Labor Relations Board notes federal law prohibits discrimination against employees for union activities.

Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement to Government Executive it would lobby against legislation like Rooney’s.

He countered against the notion that paid time off should be treated as working against taxpayer interest.

“It is time spent to improve agency operations and the workplace for the benefit of employees, their managers and the taxpayers they all serve,” he said.

But Rooney said the federal government should not subsidize the work of unions.

“The only restriction on official time is that it can’t be granted for internal union business, but it happens anyway,” he said.

“There’s no reason for federal workers to be paid a government salary to perform union work. I introduced this bill to stop this unfair practice and to ensure that federal employees are working for all taxpayers, not for unions.”

If passed, the law would not stop employees from being part of unions or participating in duties. But such activity could only take place when the employee was not on duty or had unpaid status.

The legislation would also eliminate the Federal Labor-Management Relations Act requirements for federal agencies to grant official time.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Fred Friedman

    July 31, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    How about getting rid of unions and the corruption and political influence that goes with them?

    • gary

      July 31, 2019 at 5:49 pm


    • James d mccarthy

      August 7, 2019 at 8:44 am

      obviously you don’t belong to anything

  • NoMoreRepublicans!

    July 31, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Working class Americans detest anti-union politicians.

    • Fred Friedman

      July 31, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      They are corrupt-period. I am a working class man and I have seen how they have corrupted New York City.

  • gary

    July 31, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Unions start out as a good idea, but always ends up as nothing but mafia style leadership! The leaders all want to get their beak wet, and then they sell their votes to the highest bidders!

    End Unions! Once and for all!

    By the way, it’s good to see the adults in the room are always Republicans!

  • Tom Joad

    July 31, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    This is boilerplate ALEC legislation — like, literally copied and pasted from a model ALEC bill that they’ve been trying to pass in a handful of states, affecting public sector workers. No one talks about the fact that the employer side — the government — is able to spend millions on all kinds of out-of-town, 3-piece-suit anti-union consultants and lawyers. But Joe Schmoe takes an hour to handle a grievance for a co-worker and suddenly that’s a problem.

  • Tom Joad

    July 31, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    But you can go ahead and believe the oligarchs and tycoons and billionaires behind efforts like these care about “the American worker” or you and your family.

    Or you can wake the f– up. If unions are so bad and so pointless, why are they constantly being attacked by the billionaire class?

    ALEC Outlines 2019 Agenda to Erode Union Power
    “…Other ALEC bills would increase transparency in union spending and ban “release time,”…”

    ALEC: “Model Policies”
    “Prohibition on Paid Union Activity (Release Time) by Public Employees Ordinance”

  • Pedro

    August 1, 2019 at 12:02 am

    I don’t see the corruption when a union rep advocates for better pay and benefits. I believe those who are anti-union are just jealous because they were not intelligent enough to get a union job. Most of them do require unique skills. When unions were stronger Americans were at their happiest. A parent could work a union job and support his family. Now employers just buy muliiple homes and vacations while you work 6 days a week in their sweatshops.

    • gary

      August 2, 2019 at 9:12 pm

      @Pedro: Unions are nothing but localized socialist organizations. Move to another country if you like them so much!

  • Fred Friedman

    August 1, 2019 at 12:13 am

    In my state New York the unions are so powerful it is virtually impossible to fire an incompetent worker or a worker who doesn’t show up for work, engages in sexual harassment or even someone who embezzles money. Many of our public employees make over 100 dollars an hour excluding benefits. They drive up the cost of living for everyone. Unions have a sickening relationship with the Democratic party which is corrupt in the extreme. Union members have also driven our employee pension system to the brink of bankruptcy. Some of our unions are controlled by organized crime. So do not tell me how good unions are. They are rent seekers and boodlers that do not serve the public interest.

Comments are closed.


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