Issues

Federal Agencies Spending Millions to Support Unions

President Barack Obama, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka / AP

Taxpayers spent more than $150 million to aid federal unions, according to a new report.

Federal agencies subsidize labor groups by paying civil servants who serve as union leaders, even as the employee works full time for the union rather than the taxpayer, according to Watchdog.org.

Watchdog.org reported last week that at the IRS, 286 full-time staffers worked exclusively for the National Treasury Employees Union while they were on the government payroll in 2012.

This was the case for several other agencies, according to a report by Americans for Limited Government that revealed many individual agencies employ hundreds of union leaders in their ranks.

Watchdog.org explains:

Veterans Affairs. The scandal-scarred VA has more than 250 employees working full-time for the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Federation of Federal Employees and the Service Employees International Union. […]

Department of Transportation. Some 35 DOT employees exclusively on "official time" receive average annual salaries of $138,000. Some receive more than $170,000.

Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA pays more than $1.6 million per year to employees who work for their union full-time.

National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB has two employees working for their union full-time. Each makes more than $100,000 per year.

The federal workers earning taxpayer salaries to perform union duties are "hyper-political," according to the report, because of lucrative campaign donations from public sector unions. Those donations overwhelmingly favor Democrats.

Democratic candidates receive 90-plus percent of the unions’ campaign contributions. Yet the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has failed to rein in the workplace subsidies.

"If government unions want to have their own paid employees, that’s their prerogative," Mehrens told Watchdog. "As things stand now, it’s a vicious circle that increases cost of government."