House Shoots Down Amendment to Ban Official Time
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a funding bill for the Departments of Transportation (DoT) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by a 229-192 vote. The bill, H.R. 4745, provides $17 billion for the DoT and $40.3 billion for HUD.
In the lead up consideration of this spending measure on the House floor, NFFE was informed of an effort being made by anti-union, anti-federal worker members of the House to begin the process of dismantling workplace protections and silencing employees’ voice in the federal government. NFFE got word that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) was intending to offer an amendment to the appropriations bill that would eliminate the use of official time, a tool used in federal agencies to provide fair representation for employees and resolve conflicts within agencies.
Time was short, but NFFE, the IAM, and our allies in Labor rallied to oppose this attack on official time that was politically driven and aimed at getting rid of federal employee unions. Federal workers across the country sprang into action, using their lunch hour and personal equipment to call or write their members of Congress, and urging them to vote “NO” on this harmful Gingrey Amendment. As a united front, Union members across the country brought the fight to Rep. Gingrey. Together, we sent our message loud and clear: Do not cut official time.
Late Tuesday night, the roll was called, and the impact of our efforts was evident. The amendment was struck down 167-254, which included 60 Republicans and 194 Democrats voting against the amendment, a greater margin than previous attempts to cut official time. This vote demonstrates that a majority (and a growing percentage) of Congress understands that official time is efficient time, and that it leads to greater government accountability and efficiency.
“In recent years, Representative Gingrey has stopped at nothing to eliminate the voice and workplace protections of federal employees by attempting to get rid of official time,” said NFFE National President William Dougan. “Clearly, NFFE and our allies are ready to defend our members from these constant attacks. Cutting official time would hamper the effectiveness of the federal government, and open agencies up to widespread mismanagement. Official time is time spent making our government more efficient. NFFE-IAM members stepped up to the challenge and defeated Representative Gingrey and his amendment.”