Legislation Introduced to End Unionization at IRS

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has introduced legislation that would end mandatory labor unions at the Internal Revenue Service.

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has introduced legislation that would end mandatory labor unions at the Internal Revenue Service.

Known as the End the Partisan IRS Culture (EPIC) Act, Scott says it is necessary to “end the partisan culture at the IRS.”

Scott is referring primarily to the scandal in which the IRS allegedly used its powers to target conservative political groups. It was recently announced that no criminal charges will be filed after the investigation concluded.

Scott also pointed out that the use of official time has led to federal employees working solely on union issues instead of on the agency’s mission, something Scott says is failing to properly serve the American people. In 2011, IRS employees spent more than 600,000 hours of official time on union duties; more than 200 IRS employees worked full time on union issues.

Scott also noted that almost 50,000 IRS employees pay union dues and more than 95% of the union’s political contributions have gone to Democratic candidates in recent elections. Scott says this is evidence which he says led to incidents such as the agency singling out conservative groups.

The EPIC Act would amend the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute to designate the IRS as an agency that is exempt from labor organization and collective bargaining requirements.

Currently, several agencies are already excluded from the statute’s Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, including the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the Federal Impasses Panel, and the U.S. Secret Service.

Presidents are able to exclude additional agencies or subdivision from coverage. Presidents have excluded additional agencies, including the Federal Air Marshall Service and several subdivisions of each branch of the military. Scott’s bill would add the IRS to the list.

In a statement, Scott said:

“The American people should be able to trust that the Internal Revenue Service is running as efficiently as possible, and not being used by any president as a blunt force tool to enact revenge on political enemies. Unionization has led to hundreds of employees working solely on union issues instead of serving the American people, with 95 percent of the political donations from these union dues going to Democrats.

My legislation will help end the partisan culture at the IRS by exempting the agency from labor organization and collective bargaining requirements. We should put the 200-plus employees currently doing union work back to serving the American taxpayers, not their union bosses and the politicians they support.  They should be processing refunds and answering taxpayers’ phone calls rather than letting almost 9 million Americans be hung up on with a ‘courtesy disconnect.’”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.