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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Federal employee unions use tax-funded official time, money to build political muscle -- By Mark Flatten, The Washington Examiner

A leaner union contract had been imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association was not happy about it.

Things had not gone well for NATCA under Republican President George W. Bush. Its perk-filled contract, negotiated in 1998 when Bill Clinton was in the White House, expired in 2003.

After three years of unsuccessful haggling, the FAA in 2006 exercised its ability to impose a new contract on the union, which stripped away many lucrative benefits. It was supposed to be in place until 2012.

Everything changed when President Obama took office in 2009. The union-friendly Democrat had been endorsed by NATCA during his campaign, and, as a senator, had sponsored a bill to force the FAA into binding arbitration over its impasse with the union.

Too big to manage

Wall Street banks were described in 2008 as "too big to fail." Is the federal government too big to manage? A four-part series by the Washington Examiner.
Part One: High-cost union officials get their paychecks from taxpayers but spend no time on the job
Part Two: Union lobbying is bankrolled by taxpayers through official time
Today: Union-friendly politicians reap the rewards for protecting official time
Thursday: Powerful unions block transparency, reforms of official time
Click here to see a summary of the series and find more resources

Click here or on the image above to see our infographic on official time

Then there was the union money. Lots of it.

Obama and other Democrats raised more than $61.3 million from labor-controlled political action committees in the 2008 election, including about $15 million from PACs run by government-sector unions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Little of that went directly to Obama, but 92 percent of union contributions went to Democrats.

Less than six months after Obama was sworn in and almost three years before the NATCA contract was supposed to expire, negotiations were reopened, the generous perks for the union were restored and a new agreement was approved.

The new deal added at least $669 million to the cost of the contract, according to agency estimates. Among the changes was more official time for the union.

Political muscle paid off for NATCA, as it often pays off for other federal employee unions. And that political muscle is built with official time, a policy that pays federal employees to do union work.

Unions don’t have to pay salaries or benefits to most of the top officers who staff locals and national councils. Taxpayers do that with official time, which frees dues revenue for funding political activity.

(Click link below to read more)
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