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Which Agencies Log the Most Hours of ‘Official Time’ Spent on Union Business?

VA tops the list for total hours, but doesn’t make the top 10 for hours spent per bargaining unit employee.

The amount of time federal employees spent conducting union business on the taxpayers’ dime crept up in fiscal 2012, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management. Governmentwide use of “official time” increased from 3.39 million hours in fiscal 2011 to 3.43 million hours in fiscal 2012, the report said.  But there was wide variation among agencies, with some logging almost no hours and others, hundreds of thousands of hours.

Which agencies were at the high end of the spectrum? By one count, the Veterans Affairs Department used the most official time, at 1.1 million hours in fiscal 2012. This may not be surprising: some critics have even gone as far as to blame unionization and time spent on union activities for the department’s recent management woes. But VA also has a very heavily unionized workforce, and when looked at as official time hours per number of bargaining unit employees, the department does not make the top 10 list.

The following are the 10 agencies that used the most official time in fiscal 2012, both overall, and per bargaining unit employee.

Overall Hours of Official Time

  1. Veterans Affairs Department: 1.1 million
  2. Treasury Department: 580,490
  3. Defense Department: 336,956.02
  4. Transportation Department: 251,695.02
  5. Social Security Administration: 247,563
  6. Homeland Security Department: 211,422
  7. Justice Department: 178,260.50
  8. Agriculture Department: 139,336.49
  9. Labor Department: 55,119
  10. Housing and Urban Development: 50,606.75

Hours Per Bargaining Unit Employee

  1. National Labor Relations Board: 11.73
  2. Broadcasting Board of Governors: 8.19
  3. Housing and Urban Development: 7.71
  4. Treasury Department: 7.32
  5. Railroad Retirement Board: 6.70
  6. Transportation Department: 6.42
  7. Office of Personnel Management: 5.81
  8. Justice Department: 5.29
  9. General Services Administration: 5.19
  10. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: 4.95

Source: Office of Personnel Management

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