The Corner

Re: YouCut the Federal Budget

So, I got a lot of reader e-mail about Eric Cantor’s YouCut initiative. (By the bye, guilt compels me to say that I do in fact read every piece of reader e-mail I get. I just can’t respond to them all. So keep ‘em coming. You’re what this is all about.)

Among those who shared their votes with me, my favored option #2 — which would end taxpayer-funded compensation for unionized federal employees for time spent on union-related activities — won a happy plurality. Here’s a representative e-mail:

But I do appreciate your vote for #2.  As a former manager in the federal government who once sat across from AFGE members in contract negotiations, I found the abuse of “official time” (not just by the 100 per-centers) outrageous.  Even when I was a member of the “bargaining unit” of AFGE before becoming a manager, I found the organization useless and never joined or paid dues. (They were officially required to represent all employees, regardless, but somehow anyone who turned to them for help eventually became a dues-paying member. Funny how that works.)  The union officials are usually a group of individuals who are out to set up special deals for themselves or their friends.  This made the contract negotiation process particularly nauseating, since we could tell they were working for themselves.  The only good thing that happened during negotiations was one occasion when we so far from any agreement that the agency decided to bring in (and pay for) a mediator.  We were used to AFGE getting up and storming out of meetings in protest, but we knew we were beginning to make some progress when the mediator became so angry with the union reps that HE stood up and stormed out!  One of my best memories from the job.

Great minds think alike! Well, actually, the most popular reader respons, by far, was “all of the above.”

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