Federal Labor Relations:

Survey of Official Time Used for Union Activities

GGD-97-182R: Published: Sep 30, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the resources used for employee union activities across the federal government.

GAO noted that: (1) most of the federal organizations responding to GAO's survey did not provide comprehensive data on resources used for union activities; (2) of the organizations that provided data, none provided GAO all of the data requested for all of the 8 fiscal years covered by GAO's survey; (3) in some cases, the data they provided covered only portions of fiscal years or were reported on a calendar-year basis; (4) overall, the data received from the 34 federal organizations were insufficient for portraying the total amount of resources they used for union activities; (5) of the 34 federal organizations GAO surveyed, 15 provided information on the amount of time spent on union activities during at least 1 of the fiscal years from 1989 to 1996; (6) twelve of the federal organizations reported hours used for union activities during fiscal year (FY) 1996; these totalled 1,028,544 hours; (7) of the five federal organizations of special interest to the Chairman, House Committee on Education and Workforce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and that had employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, none reported the number of hours of official time used by employees for union activities; (8) two of the organizations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), reported that a total of six employees spent 100 percent of their time on union activities during FY 1996; (9) one of the organizations, NLRB, reported that the dollar value of travel and per diem related to union activities totalled about $61,880 in FY 1996; (10) regarding the benefits, according to the federal organizations, of using official time for union activities, some of the federal organizations GAO surveyed said that the use of official time for union activities: (a) improved labor-management relations; (b) decreased the number of grievances; and (c) helped with the implementation of organizational changes; and (11) the one disadvantage, as identified by some of the federal organizations GAO surveyed, was that the use of official time for union activities caused employees to set aside their regular work.

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