07.18.18

Rep. Takano Statement on VA Implementation of Executive Order Limiting the Use of Official Time

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released this statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Labor Management Relations issued a notice of implementation of Executive Order #13837, which drastically limits the use of official time:

“Instead of working to ensure that the VA is well-staffed, well managed, and capable of providing veterans with quality services, the Trump Administration has focused its efforts on undermining worker protections and attacking VA employees.

“It is important to reiterate that the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 prohibits the use of official time to conduct internal union business. By erroneously conflating official time and union business, the Trump Administration is undermining efforts that ensure workplace safety, protect workers from discrimination, improve working conditions, and develop new employee trainings and work processes. At the VA, these efforts by union representatives help ensure that our veterans are being best served.

“When there are as many as 33,000 vacancies at the VA that need to be filled and HR employees that are being stretched thin, it is astonishing that the Trump Administration has chosen to diminish the ability of VA employees to use official time to address working conditions and navigate employment grievances. Official time contributes to a more effective and efficient VA that can focus on providing veterans with the care that they need. 

“It was Congress’ intention in 1978 to give federal employees the ability to use official time to benefit employees, federal agencies, and the American public. That should continue to be our commitment.”

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