May 23, 2017

Tell Congress: Vote NO to H.R. 1461

DO NOT CONTACT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ON OFFICIAL DUTY TIME, USING A GOVERNMENT PHONE, ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY OR USING GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING GOVERNMENT EMAIL ADDRESSES.

Click HERE to tell your Representative to VOTE NO to H.R. 1461.

There have been multiple pieces of legislation introduced recently regarding the use of official time. Each piece of legislation either limits the use of official time or penalizes employees who use it. This House of Representatives has recently Veterans, Employees and Taxpayer (VET) Protection Act (H.R. 1461), introduced by Representative Jodey Arrington (R-TX).

This bill in its original and amended form:
  • Places a cap on official time use by any local union official employed by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs as low as 25 percent, unless a waiver is granted by the Secretary;
  • Prohibits any local union official who earns more than $100,000.000 annually from using any official time, unless a waiver is granted by the Secretary;
  • Forbids local union officials from contacting members of Congress while on official time, even if the contact is in regard to whistleblowing protection; and
  • Extends the probationary period of new hires at the VA from 12 to 24 months.    
Tell Your Representative to Vote NO to H.R. 1461

NAGE/IBPO and your colleagues across the country need your help to defeat this bill.  Contact your representative and tell them to vote NO to H.R. 1461, and any legislation that restricts the use of official time or extends probationaary periodsweakens due process rights for federal employees. To call your representative in the House, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask to speak with your congressman. 

Click to read NAGE National President David J. Holway's letter to the House opposing H.R. 1461

What YOU need to know about official time.Unions must represent all employees without regard to membership.
  • Official time is negotiated between the Union and the Agency and is only the amount deemed “reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest.”
  • Agency leadership has never complained to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee about official time abuse.
  • A report by the Government Accountability Office found that it is easier to work with one local official than multiple officials.
  • Without local officials on official time, additional funds will be expended paying agency officials to hold meetings with union representatives after hours and for the payment of third party attorneys and arbitrators. 
  • Restricting the use of official time will result in increased costs to the agency, the American taxpayer, and decrease the efficiency of the federal government.


Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
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