The VA has reported significant reductions in official time and use of space in its facilities by union locals following directives in 2018 executive orders on union and disciplinary policies.
Reductions in workspace provided without charge and in on-the-clock time to for employees to perform certain union-related duties—both traditionally set in negotiated contracts—have been two of the most objectionable provisions of those orders to unions, who argue that such accommodations are necessary for them to carry out their responsibilities under law to represent all bargaining unit employees.
The VA has been one of the agencies at the forefront of carrying out those provisions, late last year notifying some 330 bargaining units that they would be either required to leave VA-provided space or pay rent. Of those, it said, 244 have moved or have said they will move out of VA buildings, it said, while the rest have signed leases that will yield some $1.4 million per year in rent to the department.
It said the 150,000 square feet of vacated space will be used for offices and patient care.
The department also said that official time in the first calendar quarter of this year was down by nearly half compared with the last quarter of calendar 2019.