Biden administration conceals data on taxpayer-funded union activities

Federal employees are being paid over $100 million annually for union work instead of fulfilling their government duties, as transparency reports vanish.

Biden administration conceals data on taxpayer-funded union activities
AP Photo/Morry Gash
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The Biden administration has ceased publishing data that details how much taxpayer money is being allocated to subsidize federal employees who work full-time for unions instead of carrying out their designated government duties, a practice commonly referred to as "official time."

Under this controversial policy, the government expends over $100 million annually to compensate hundreds of employees who have not fulfilled their official responsibilities in years, effectively burdening taxpayers with the costs of both sides of labor negotiations.

Historically, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) tracked and reported these expenses, revealing that in 2019 alone, the government paid for 2.6 million hours - nearly 300 years' worth - of employee time spent on union business rather than serving the public.

However, the Biden administration has not only failed to publish reports since 2019, but has removed previously available data from the OPM website. When questioned by the Daily Wire, an OPM spokesperson claimed the removal was due to a website reorganization to "improve navigation and customer experience," yet months later, the reports remain inaccessible.

Critics, such as the Freedom Foundation, accuse the administration of deliberately hiding the information to advance a pro-union agenda, noting that the data was taken down around the same time OPM added a "Worker Empowerment" page touting support for "worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining."

"Despite differing views on the policy's merits, recent presidential administrations of both parties have made regular attempts to at least measure the use of official time across the federal workforce," the think tank stated.

In response, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced the Taxpayer-Funded Union Time Transparency Act, requiring agencies to publish detailed records on the cost and justification of taxpayer-funded union work.

"Public service should always be about benefiting taxpayers, not bureaucrats," Ernst said. "We cannot allow the Biden administration to disregard critical reporting requirements and transparency measures."

Past investigations have revealed egregious examples of official time abuse, with over 500 employees in 2014 found to be doing little to no work for their government jobs while drawing full-time salaries. As the administration keeps recent data under wraps, concerns mount that such waste has only grown.

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