The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last week sent a letter to Congressional appropriators requesting funding for staff salary increases despite NLRB employees spending nearly 5 percent of their working hours on taxpayer-funded union activities.
NLRB Chairman Lauren McFerran and General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo sent the letter to the heads of the labor subcommittees of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, demanding a 4.6-percent pay increase for NLRB employees “beginning in January 2023,” which would total $10.2 million in the first year. The NLRB also requested an additional $4.8 million for non-labor costs and $3.7 million to relocate certain field offices.
Without this additional funding, the NLRB says, they may be “forced to reduce [the agency’s] operational capacity.” To the contrary, before coming to the American taxpayer to demand more funding, the NLRB should eliminate wasteful spending that the agency already conducts.
One of these key expenses is taxpayer-funded union time (TFUT), whereby federal employees spend on-the-clock time negotiating against the taxpayer through public-sector unions–– all while taxpayers foot the bill for those hours of union activity.
A FY2019 report by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) found that NLRB employees spent 4.87 percent of their total hours conducting union business. This represents a higher percentage than was reported by 23 other federal departments and agencies for time spent by their own employees on union activity. Compensation for TFUT hours among NLRB employees also increased by a whopping 28.24 percent since FY2016, according to the report.
Despite spending a significant number of work hours and taxpayer dollars on self-serving activities, and despite NLRB leadership proposing higher pay increases than the average American will see in 2023, the NLRB Union continues to express discontent with policies that they say are not lax enough. Most recently, the NLRB Union balked at a requirement that they actually show up to the office for work.
The current agreement allows NLRB employees to telework five days in every two-week pay period, down from a 2020 policy that allowed full-time teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even after the end of the year, NLRB employees will still be able to telework three days per pay period, according to the union.
Between telework and official time, many employees will only be in the office performing agency duties for 65 percent of the hours that taxpayers are paying them for––a standard that union members criticized as “scorched-earth tactics” against them. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, just 5.2 percent of employed Americans reported teleworking due to the pandemic as of September 2022.
Congress should not grant the NLRB millions of dollars in extra taxpayer money while the agency continues to maintain inefficient spending models that are already harming the American taxpayer. Instead of crying poor to appropriators, the NLRB should stop conducting union business on the taxpayer’s dime.