WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has begun implementing a recent presidential executive order (EO), which offered new guidelines for how union officials use work hours when representing federal employees.
Signed by President Trump on May 25, “Executive Order 13837 Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, And Efficiency in Taxpayer Funded Union Time Use” is intended to “ensure that taxpayer-funded union time is used efficiently and authorized in amounts that are reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest.”
Peter O’Rourke, VA’s acting secretary, said the executive order will increase monitoring and reporting guidelines among VA, the Office of Personnel Management and union leaders, while making that information available to the public.
“This executive order ensures the proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” O’Rourke said. “The order offers reasonable standards for union representatives and makes clear that they should spend the majority of their duty hours on federal government work.”
The executive order affects about 1,700 VA employees using taxpayer-funded union time. Approximately 300,000 VA employees are represented by one of five national unions. The order’s restrictions regarding time spent on government work includes member solicitation, lobbying activities, elections of union officials and collection of dues.
The executive order also outlines rules about the following:
- Negotiations about appropriate implementation of the executive order
- Standards for use of union time
- Employee conduct regarding agency time and resources, to include use of office or meeting spaces, phones and computer systems
- Preventing unlawful or unauthorized expenditures
- Agency reporting requirements, and
- Public disclosure and transparency.
Nathan Maenle, principal deputy assistant secretary for VA’s Office of Human Resources and Administration, offered an example of how the order is being implemented at VA.
“VA employees who previously spent 100 percent of their official work hours on union issues can devote no more than 25 percent of that time to the union under the new executive order,” Maenle said. “Union leaders must also request and receive approval of their use of taxpayer-funded union time to allow the VA to monitor the use of this time to ensure that it’s only used for authorized purposes.”
The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.
To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II