On Thursday, House Republicans criticized senior officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for permitting hundreds of government employees to spend all of their work hours on union activities. The employees were discovered to be abdicating their responsibilities to care for veterans.
Records provided by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) show in 2015, about 290,000 VA employees spent at least 1.1 million hours on union activities. The union work is called, “official time.” Of those 290,000 employees, at least 346 employees spent 100 percent of their time on official time.
Even some Democrats on the House Oversight Committee agreed with Republicans in their outrage and are demanding an investigation. Subsequently, the VA has been ordered to provide a full accounting how employees spend their workdays.
“I appreciate y’all having the hearing, but look, this is unbelievable, unbelievable what we have here,” said Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan. “So let’s hope we can change it and get rid of all these folks on official time.”
Union officials quoted in the GAO report contend that official time provides opportunities for workers to report problems and concerns that would otherwise go unreported.
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