(The Center Square) – A national labor union representing over 100,000 federal employees pulled a document off its website after a report showed the Biden administration was using taxpayer dollars to help public unions grow their members, and as a result, their budgets.
The Center Square reported the story, which cited a news release on the National Federation of Federal Employees’ website where the labor group explicitly thanked the Biden administration for helping it recruit more federal workers.
The Biden administration helped the unions by having the Office of Personnel Management alter the federal employee database FedScope to make it easier for unions to target and recruit non-union workers in the federal government.
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“This upgraded resource will be an excellent tool for our union to locate non-union employees across the federal government who are rightfully entitled to representation and a voice in their workplace,” NFFE National President Randy Erwin said in the release, which has now been removed. “NFFE specifically requested assistance in identifying the hundreds of thousands of unrepresented government workers, and today OPM delivered on its commitment to promote employee organizing and collective bargaining by rolling out the enhanced database. We are excited to help these federal employees who have not yet joined a union organize in their workplaces and obtain critical rights and benefits through unionizing.”
Critics said OPM using taxpayer dollars to help the public unions grow their budgets is a conflict of interest.
“It’s interesting that neither the federal government nor the other major federal employee unions boasted about how the Office of Personnel Management was working with them to increase the unionization of federal employees,” said Maxford Nelsen, a labor policy expert at the Freedom Foundation. “The fact that NFFE pulled down its press release on the subject after it started getting attention suggests they spoke out of turn and exposed behind-the-scenes coordination that those involved thought best left out of the public eye.”
The now-removed NFFE news release praised the Biden administration for opening up 300,000 new potential members.
“Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) applauds the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for promoting union representation among 300,000 federal employees who are eligible to join a union but are not currently in a bargaining unit,” the release said. “OPM announced that FedScope, a public database of federal employees that does not list names or contact information, now has increased search capabilities and details on unrepresented workers.”
Private companies often discourage unionization because it can send costs soaring. The federal government, though, has little incentive since those increased costs are simply passed on to the taxpayers.
Critics also point out that unions traditionally support Democrats in a myriad of ways, including through campaign donations and ads, though there are restrictions on donations. Biden was vocally pro-union during the 2020 presidential campaign, and according to Open Secrets, labor organizations donated more than $27 million to Biden in that election cycle.
“Helping unions identify organizing targets in the federal workforce not only enlists taxpayers in promoting private, politically active organizations opposed to their interests, but exposes the reality that much union organizing comes from the top down,” Nelsen said. “If federal employees were clamoring for union representation, unions wouldn’t need the Biden administration to help them find the pockets of non-union employees hiding out in the federal bureaucracy.”