The Federal Government Service Task Force, a congressional civil service caucus, is investigating complaints that some government agencies aren't living up to their collective bargaining agreements.
The task force says it is looking into reports that some agencies are dragging out arbitration cases they think they can't win -- to make the process more expensive for unions -- or are denying employes who are union officials paid time off to handle cases.
In some instances, the task force says, arbitration awards that are favorable to unions and employes are being ignored by the agencies.
The task force, chaired by Reps. Michael Barnes (D-Md.) and Vic Fazio (D-Calif.), says that most of the complaints come from union officials and employes of the Social Security Administration, which is based in Baltimore.
"Frankly, we don't know why this is happening, or why most of the complaints . . . come from SSA," a task force spokesman said. He added that it was possible that the alleged agency actions might be an outgrowth of a general antilabor policy by this administration.
More than half of the government's 2.8 million civilian employes are covered by exclusive union contracts, although the number of employes who carry union cards is much lower.
Contracts vary from agency to agency. Most allow unions to represent employes in grievances and to negotiate some working conditions, but not pay or hours. In many cases where agreement can't be reached, labor and management can call in outside arbitrators.
It is those arbitrations that the task force is investigating.
Once the task force completes its study it may seek to have the issue aired in House hearings. It also might seek legislation that would impose financial penalties on agencies or disciplinary action against managers.
The General Services Administration and the Federal Communications Commission say they've already repaid employes money lost between November and March when a congressionally ordered bookkeeping change expired.
That method of computing salaries cost employes an average of $1.60 per week. When it expired, some agencies continued to use the less generous computation formula, although Congress did not reinstate it until March.
The American Federation of Government Employees demanded that affected employes be reimbursed. Last Friday the General Accounting Office said employes should get back pay. The payments are all less than $100 each.
Besides FCC and GSA, agencies caught in the pay snafu included the departments of State and Health and Human Services, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. The biggest payouts will be made at HHS, because it has the most affected employes. AFGE Election Results
Don MacIntyre has been reelected to a sixth two-year term as national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees union. His district takes in the Washington area, which has about 14 percent of the federal work force. He defeated Mike Urquhart of AFGE's Labor Department local and Roscoe Grant of the union local in the D.C. Department of Public Works. NARFE Politics
George (Ed) Auman, national vice president of the 500,000-member National Association of Retired Federal Employees, is running for president of the group. He was formerly president of the Federal Executive and Professional Association. Most of his federal career was with the National Bureau of Standards.