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Jeff Miller Rep and Chairman House Committee on Veterans Affairs, VA hospital NYC


Washington Examiner

…Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., asked Sloan Gibson, acting Veterans Affairs secretary, in a letter to issue an emergency directive requiring those released on “official time” to return to their regular jobs….

Miller cited 174 veterans’ health officials whose only job is to serve as union representatives. Official time allows civil servants who are also federal employee union officials to do union work full-time while drawing regular government pay and benefits….

‘I respectfully request that you act without delay to issue an emergency directive requiring the immediate reassignment of all VA health care workers currently on official time to health care positions within the department where the need is greatest,’ Miller said in his letter to Gibson.

‘If you are limited in your authority to act on this request by current union rules, contracts or collective bargaining agreements, I ask that you take the request directly to the heads of the unions of jurisdiction,’ Miller said….

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Miller also requested a full accounting of federal employees in the Veterans Administration working full-time on union business.

Federal employees who serve as union representatives can be found away from the job they were hired to do in every federal agency.


Too Big to Manage: Taxpayers fund top-dollar federal employee union reps through official time

Phil Barbarello insists his federal salary has nothing to do with his job as a top union official. What matters, he says, is his experience as an air traffic controller.

But it has been years since Barbarello, eastern regional vice president for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, spent much time monitoring flights in a control tower.

His full-time job with the Federal Aviation Administration is working for the NATCA union, and has been since at least 2009.

As for his salary, $166,362 in 2012, that and his lucrative federal benefits are all paid by taxpayers.

Barbarello and hundreds of other federal employees are released from their regular jobs to do union work under what is known as “official time.”

Allowed in federal law since 1978, official time cost American taxpayers an estimated $155.6 million in 2011, the most recent available year, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management, which manages the government workplace.

Union representatives spent about 3.4 million hours doing union work while drawing their regular paychecks from the government.

Barbarello refused to discuss his job with the union or his paycheck from the government….

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If unions feel that these representatives are needed full-time then they should pay their salaries. Otherwise, send them back to their jobs. To do otherwise is abusive to taxpayers.

Finally, as in the case of Phil Barbarello who insists that “his federal salary has nothing to do with his job as a top union official. What matters, he says, is his experience as an air traffic controller,” it should be required that any employee who has been away from his or her job for a significant amount of time prove that they are still qualified to hold their jobs.