Thursday, June 9, 2011

(DC Labor)

A little bit of Wisconsin came to Capitol Hill last week when Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the use of official time for union activity by federal employees, reports Library of Congress Professional Guild President Saul Schniderman. The long-standing practice of union stewards and officers using official time to handle grievances and other representational activity is granted by government agencies in amounts that are negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement, says Schniderman, but this practice has Republican House members riled. While AFGE President John Gage defended time used by union representatives, witnesses from the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute called for end of official time for federal employees because it forces taxpayers to subsidize union activities. Ranking member Elijah E. Cummings (D- MD) made some startling comparisons between Governor Scott Walker's union busting activities in Wisconsin and the Republican attack on official time, Schniderman adds. He then shocked the hearing room by announcing that he had research that showed that the two conservative organizations which testified had received over 1.3 million dollars in donations from the notorious Koch Brothers. Click here for coverage by the Washington Post.


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