CEI Daily - Government Unions, Sexual Harassment, and Free Trade


Government Unions


Clauses in collective bargaining agreements require that the government pay federal employees for union activities.


Labor Policy Counsel Vincent Vernuccio points out that taxpayers are essentially paying for union lobbying efforts.


"According to OPM, 'Official time, broadly defined, is paid time off from assigned Government duties to represent a union or its bargaining unit employees.' In other words, government agencies allow some federal employees to do union work while still being paid. This is a boon for government employee unions because they do not need to pay these workers to represent their members and can still collect dues. In 2008, federal employees logged 2,893,922 hours for union work while still receiving a paycheck from Uncle Sam. This cost taxpayers nearly $121 million for work only benefiting government unions."




Sexual Harassment


A Dear Colleague letter from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is urging schools to discipline those accused of sexual harassment even if the evidence against them is not "clear and convincing."


Senior Counsel Hans Bader says the Department of Education is stepping in on school administrative decisions.


"To satisfy this OCR requirement, schools that have long used a clear-and-convincing standard in disciplinary cases would have to suddenly create a special exception for sexual harassment and discrimination cases, giving people accused of such offenses less due process than they would otherwise receive. This would be a major departure from existing practice for schools, like Harvard Law School. Harvard’s 'Policy and Guidelines Related to Sexual Harassment,' adopted by faculty vote in April 1995, contains the following provision: 'Burden of proof: Formal disciplinary sanctions shall be imposed only upon clear and convincing evidence.' The Education Department’s rule also conflicts with faculty collective bargaining agreements mandating a clear-and-convincing standard."




Free Trade


Obama hasn't been promoting the Colombia Free Trade Pact, which would lower our trade deficit and create jobs. Democrats have complained that they're reluctant to pass the Pact because of sub-standard work conditions in Colombia. 


Adjunct Scholar Michael Fumento reveals the real reason Obama and other Democrats are holding up the Free Trade Pact.


"Big Labor doesn’t like the Pact because it means competition for them. And Big Labor donates Big Money to political campaigns, with 90 percent going to the Dems. But, of course, the Dems can’t say that. So they say they’re worried about protecting the rights — indeed the lives — of Colombian labor union members. Except that the percentage of such members reported killed last year was vastly below Colombia’s overall homicide rate — not to mention a fraction of that of New Orleans."