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Human Resources and Organizational Management

 

Human Resources and Organizational Management

Headquarters Marine Corps

Official Time for Union Representatives
WHAT IS OFFICIAL TIME?

Official time is all time granted to an employee by the agency to perform representational functions on behalf of a labor union. This time is granted without charge to personal leave or loss of pay, when the employee would otherwise be in a duty status and is considered hours of work.

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Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF REPRESENTATIONAL FUNCTIONS THAT MAY BE PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL TIME?

Official TimeRepresentational functions are those authorized activities undertaken by employees on behalf of other employees pursuant to such employees' right to representation under labor relations statutes, regulations, Executive Orders, or the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. Examples of authorized uses of official time include:

  • Attendance at grievance meetings
  • Attendance at formal meetings between the agency and one or more employees covered by a labor agreement
  • Attendance at hearings before the Federal Labor Relations Authority and the Merit Systems Protection Board

Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF FUNCTIONS THAT MAY NOT BE PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL TIME?

Any activities related to internal union business may not be conducted while on official time. These include soliciting union members, campaigning for union office, and collecting union dues.


Supervisors must record all official time used by union representatives using the following codes on the timecard:
TIME CARD CODE  TYPE OF ACTIVITY  DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES PERFORMED 
BA  TERM NEGOTIATIONS  Official time used by union representatives to prepare for and negotiate a basic collective bargaining agreement or its successor. 
BB  MID-TERM NEGOTIATIONS  Official time used to bargain over issues raised during the life of a term agreement i.e. local level negotiations. 
BD  GENERAL LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS  Official time used for: meetings between labor and management officials to discuss general conditions of employment, labor-management committee meetings, labor relations training for union representatives, and union participation in formal meetings and investigative interviews. 
BK  DISPUTE RESOLUTION  Official time used to process grievances up to and including arbitration and to process appeals of bargaining unit employees to the various administrative agencies such as the MSPB, FLRA and EEOC and, as necessary, to the courts. 

Most official time used will fall into the BD and BK codes and occasionally into the other two codes.
Union Officers and Stewards
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You need to get approval in advance from your supervisor to use official time. You must provide enough information so your supervisor can make a decision whether the purpose for which you are requesting time is for an authorized purpose, whether the amount of time is reasonable, and whether release at the time requested can be approved. Generally, when requesting official time you must advise your supervisor of:
  • The amount of official time needed, along with the date and time you are requesting
  • Where you may be reached, and
  • The reason for which official time is being requested.
If you are representing an employee covered by the Master Labor Agreement between AFGE and the USMC, you must complete an official time report form and provide it to your supervisor. The form is in Appendix E of the MLA and is also included as a link below for your convenience.
 
No. Official time is granted only when you would otherwise be in a duty status. If you are performing representational activities on your own time, then you are not on official time and you cannot be compensated for the time with overtime pay or compensatory time.

Union representatives should review the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement for specific provisions that may have been negotiated of the use of official time. Links to the articles in both the labor agreement between the USMC and AFGE are provided below for your convenience.
Information for Supervisors
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No. If the use of official time interferes with operational considerations, then the time must be disapproved. If the amount of time requested is unreasonable or not for an authorized purpose, it must be disapproved.
If the request was for an authorized purpose, the supervisor should try to work out a mutually agreeable date and time to release the representative to perform the authorized representational activity.
Advise the representative of the amount of time you believe is reasonable and that you will approve for the representational activity.
This form, which is in Appendix E of the MLA should be completed for each instance of official time requested by a union representative. You will use the information on this form to record official time into the time reporting system. A copy of the form must be provided to the union representative and to your labor relations advisor in HROM.
Yes. This is an absolute requirement. The codes used are addressed in the general information section above. Agencies are required to report, on an annual basis, the amount of official time used by union representatives. The information for this report is pulled by Navy from SLDCADA.
References and Links
    
MASTER LABOR AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE USMC AND AFGE, ARTICLE 7: OFFICIAL TIME  
OFFICIAL TIME REPORT FORM (FOR USE BY USMC ONLY)