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July 27, 2017
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Official Time Ed
Posted On: Feb 10, 2017
Education: Official Time At the last union meeting we briefly touched on some developing attacks on the federal labor force. One of the items under scrutiny is official time. Official time is the practice in which federal union representatives are provided with time to represent their co-workers while on duty. Official time was included in the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Employees are allowed to use official time only to perform representational activities. Such as creating fair promotional procedures, establishing flexible work hours, setting procedures that protect employees from on-the-job injuries, enforcing protections from unlawful discrimination, providing workers with a voice in determining working conditions, and representing employees in grievances and disciplinary actions. Without official time, union representatives and aggrieved employees would be required to take personal time off to settle labor issues. Official time is less expensive for taxpayers in the long run because it helps resolve conflicts that arise in the workplace without resorting to expensive and time-consuming administrative or legal procedures. Official time also gives agencies an easy way to include employee input into any mission-related challenges that agencies may face. The amount of official time is negotiated between our Local and management, and can be found in the contract. As a Local, we utilize our right for official time quite often, and we have effectively used it to mitigate many issues before they become real problems. Having the ability to take advantage of the current open-door policy our management has instituted is the most efficient and effective use of our official time. We also use official time to attend labor related training to better educate ourselves for the betterment of our Local. Without the ability to utilize official time we are drastically limited in our ability to provide fair representation to our members, negotiate policy, head-off potentially problematic issues, attend training and our ability to progress as a Local. Educated members is our biggest weapon in the fight against organized labor. We encourage every member to take a few minutes to conduct your own research, and become more educated on the many issues that affect our ability to provide the means to maintain our rights as workers.
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