Gotta Love Those Unions…

Today in a hearing from the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Bill Cassidy was talking to an Obama administration expert on foreign drug factory inspections. On average, the federal government will inspect those factories once every nine years or so, while domestic pharmaceutical facilities get hit every six months.

Why? At least partially because the inspectors are in a union, and the union agreement with the federal government curtails the amount of travel they have to do.

The union is the NTEU, or National Treasury Employees’ Union.

Go to the NTEU’s web site, and the top headline is an article blasting House Republicans for proposing budget cuts to the EPA.

NTEU warned that a proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the House of Representatives would imperil services that the American people depend on to keep them safe.

“Reducing EPA’s budget by this magnitude and capping its personnel will have a devastating effect on the services EPA provides to the nation,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley wrote in a letter Wednesday to the members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment.

Under the proposed fiscal year 2012 Interior Department/EPA appropriations bill revealed today, the EPA is funded at $7.1 billion, or 18 percent below last year’s level and 20 percent below the president’s request. That amounts to a cut of $1.5 billion. The bill also caps EPA’s personnel at the 2010 level, the lowest since 1992.

Yep. The NTEU handles EPA’s employees. They also handle the porn addicts at the Securities Exchange Commission and other superstars at agencies like the FDA, FDIC and Department of Energy.

And here’s a small sample of the things NTEU brags about having done in the past. Ask yourself how much of the federal budget deficit these guys are responsible for…

  • Fought for passage of a bill that made permanent a child care tuition assistance program for federal employees.
  • Aggressively pushed for Flexible Spending Accounts for federal employees and an initiative allowing the use of pretax income to pay health care premiums.
  • Secured an expansion of the ability to contribute to or modify contributions to the federal Thrift Savings Plan.
  • Fought successfully for a dental-vision plan for federal workers.
  • Won the right for federal employees to earn compensatory time for business travel outside normal work hours.
  • Won thousands of dollars in back pay for Customs and Border Protection Officers forced to work an unpaid sixth day of training.
  • Won a federal court ruling that employees have the right to review promotion files.
  • Fought for, and secured, reforms to the 1939 Hatch Act that expanded political and legislative action rights of federal employees.
  • Negotiated a precedent-setting employee salary and benefit package with the FDIC.
  • Secured priority promotion consideration for 1,400 IRS employees in the largest case of its kind ever in the federal sector.
  • Beat back an IRS attempt to close dozens of its Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide.

Colleen Kelley, NTEU’s president, is a real peach. From her bio at the union’s website…

As the federal government prepares to face an unprecedented retirement wave, Kelley stresses the need for fair treatment and competitive pay and benefits for federal employees. Through her efforts, the Office of Personnel Management permitted federal employees to have Flexible Spending Accounts, a common private sector employee benefit. According to Kelley, the failure to pay competitive salaries and the previous administration’s focus on contracting out federal jobs have put the federal government at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring the best new college graduates, mid-career employees and retaining its current workers. Kelley’s efforts focus on making the federal government a workplace that attracts the best employees in their respective fields. She believes that employees have a lot of good ideas about how to do the work of the federal government better and works hard to ensure their voices are heard.

Did not Cassidy stumble upon a classic case of why federal employees should never have been unionized? And aren’t these the absolute worst people to have their hands on our fiscal throats?

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