Federal unions looking for ways to increase their clout while cutting expenses have been given a possible boost by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. On Tuesday the court ruled that government payment of travel expenses for workers who are also union representatives is a proper subject for contract talks between unions and management.

The ruling, if upheld and extended government-wide, eventually could lead to contract concessions that would save unions hundreds of thousands of dollars by shifting to the government the cost of airline tickets and hotel rooms for employee members of union bargaining teams.

Uncle Sam pays travel expenses of workers representing management, but many agencies have balked at picking up the expenses of workers who sit on the union side of the bargaining table. This has forced some unions to cut back the number of rank-and-file employees, who are often union officers, sent to negotiating sessions here and in other cities.

That in turn, unions claim, has resulted in unions getting contract concessions that are less beneficial to them and employees they represent.

The court ruling came on an appeal brought by the Treasury Department. It was protesting an earlier decision by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. In that case it was ruled that the U.S. Customs Service, an arm of Treasury, was wrong in its refusal to bargain over the issue of travel expenses for negotiators of the National Treasury Employees Union.

Neither decision says that the government must pay expenses, but rather that the issue of who pays the expenses is a legitimate bargaining issue.Departure From House

Rep. Gene Taylor (R-Mo.) has announced he will not run for reelection in the fall. Taylor is the ranking minority member of the House Post Office-Civil Service Committee and was responsible for the so-called Missouri Compromise that caused many GOP members to vote for legislation to revise the Hatch "no politics" Act covering government workers. Thanks to a big push from Taylor and bipartisan support, the House last year passed the bill that would eliminate most of the prohibitions on federal workers participating in partisan political campaigns.Job Mart

Navy's office at the National Academy of Sciences needs two procurement clerks, Grades 4, 5 or 6. Call 653-1774.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. wants a position classification specialist, GS 9 through 12. Call 898-3980.

Internal Revenue Service at Baileys Crossroads needs a permanent part-time (20 hours a week) clerk-typist, GS 4. Call 756-6664. IRS also wants a GS 2/4 mail clerk. Call Gwen Banks at 566-3617.

Agriculture in Alexandria wants a GS 8 secretary (steno or typing), with civil service status. Call Ella Jones at 756-3351.

National Library of Medicine in Bethesda has an opening for a GS 7 through 11 contract specialist. Call Karen Trusty at 496-4943.

Federal Maritime Commission needs a GS 4/6 tariff examiner and several investigators, GS 9/11. It also has a GS 6 secretary (steno) vacancy in its New York district. Call Hatsie Charbonneau at 523-5773.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has openings for several legal clerks (typing) at the GS 4/6 levels. CS status required. Call Joni E. Boone at 357-5410.