Federal Labor RelationsOfficial Time Used for Union Activities Gao ID: T-GGD-96-191 September 11, 1996
Unions represent nearly 1.9 million federal workers, 750,000 of whom work for the Postal Service. In response to congressional interest in the extent to which employees use official time for union activities, GAO found that the four major federal agencies it reviewed--the Postal Service, the Internal Revenues Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration--neither collect nor report the kinds of data needed to accurately describe the practice across agencies. If federal policymakers are to resolve questions about the extent to which taxpayers subsidize the activities of federal employee unions, better data are needed on (1) the amount and cost of the hours used for union activities, as well as the number of employees using those hours; (2) the types of activities covered by the hours used; and (3) the overall costs of agencies' support for union activities. Recognizing that data gathering can be expensive, GAO believes that policymakers need to balance the costs and benefits of the various options for doing so.