New bill would limit VA employee time spent on union activity
Last week Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) introduced a bill to ensure better tracking of employee time spent on union activity. The Veterans, Employees and Taxpayers (VET) Protection Act would require that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prohibit those involved directly with patient care from spending more than a quarter (25 percent) of their official time on union activities. It would also prohibit the VA from forcing employees to pay union dues.
Rep. Arrington released this bill in response to both a hearing on official time and Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that in 2015, 346 VA employees were spending 100 percent of their official time on union activity. Millions of hours across the VA were spent on union work rather than actual jobs, all at the expense of the taxpayer.
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) supports this legislation, stating it will “ensure that the well-being of our heroes is prioritized above all else.” Taxpayer money should not be funding union activities. The VA claims that it is underfunded and understaffed, but a move towards better tracking of time and eliminating wasted hours on union duties could contribute to fixing that problem.