May 28 2014
Taxpayers Subsidize Partisan IRS Union Officials
Vicki E. Alger
Our tax dollars pay for a lot of things we might not agree with. Now it turns out the IRS is subsidizing its own union officials to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. According to Don Loos of the National Right to Work Committee:
The IRS paid union officials for 521,725 hours though they were working for the IRS union the entire time. That’s the equivalent of over 260 full-time employees, yet the IRS claimed that only 201 employees were paid by the IRS. If the IRS claim is true, then these union officials likely received overtime for “working” on union projects and likely received paid vacations while exclusively working on union projects not their official federal government duties.
This taxpayer-funded union activity goes by the misnomer: “official time” so as to imply an official purpose, yet officially there is no federal government purpose for the activity. Taxpayers are funding private employees and officers of labor unions who are doing no work for the taxpayers’ money. …
The IRS union’s National President Colleen M. Kelley claims that ‘By statute, official time cannot be used for any purpose not directly related to the representation of bargaining unit employees in matters concerning conditions of employment, such as bargaining contracts or agreements. Official time cannot be used for internal union activities or for any political purpose.’ …
Even if we suspend reality and assume that these taxpayer-funded union officials are not working on politics, that still means that taxpayers are freeing-up $23.5 million that the union would have spent paying its union officials. The union could have used all that $23.5 million of savings on politics, and they likely do use much of it for politics.
Loos adds that the IRS’ union is as partisan as it gets, with virtually all of its political donations going to Democrats. What’s more, says Loos,
…during Obama’s re-election year IRS union officials gouged taxpayers for an additional 52,000 taxpayer-paid hours over the non-federal election year 2013 (573,319 hours in 2012 over 521,725 hours in 2013).
People should be free to join--or not join--any political party they wish. There’s also nothing wrong with people choosing to join a labor union. Compelling people to support political agendas and their affiliated organizations, either directly or indirectly by diverting taxpayer-earned dollars to union officials, is wrong. It also begs the more fundamental question of why government agencies need union representation in the first place. After all, isn’t government, the IRS especially, a hotbed of humanitarianism and compassion for the rights of workers?