CAGW OUTRAGED OVER SOCIAL SECURITY EMPLOYEES RECEIVING PAID TIME OFF FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW OUTRAGED OVER SOCIAL SECURITY EMPLOYEES RECEIVING PAID TIME OFF FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Press Release

For Immediate Release   Contact: Shawn Rychling
August 4, 1998(202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz was outraged today upon learning that employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) receive time off at taxpayer expense for Christmas shopping. 

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all in Washington, something totally outrageous comes along,” said Schatz.  “Here’s an agency that spends an admirable one percent of its revenues for administration costs, but then has to waste money by allowing employees to go Christmas shopping courtesy of the taxpayers.”

In recent hearings before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, chaired by Rep. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Congress discovered that 42 SSA offices throughout New England grant their employees as many as four hours of paid leave for Christmas shopping each holiday season.  The hearings were held in response to an SSA Inspector General’s report on taxpayer-financed union activity, which Christmas shopping leave was granted despite the fact that the average union employee at the offices studied had 16 days of unused leave time per year.

“If employees want to go Christmas shopping, or do anything else of a personal nature, they should use the time they have already earned,” Schatz added.  “There is absolutely no reason for taxpayers to incur additional expense beyond the benefit employees already receive.”

Incredibly, the union protested vehemently when SSA recently proposed to discontinue the practice.  The protest went all the way to the Federal Impasse Panel, which thankfully ruled in SSA’s favor.  In its argument to the panel, union officials called the effort to stop paid leave for Christmas shopping “vindictive,” and called the benefit a “perk like those provided private-sector employees such as ‘Christmas turkeys.’”

“The real turkeys here are any union members who think they need to milk the taxpayers for extra time off to do their Christmas shopping,” said Schatz.  “Americans should not stand for any portion of their tax dollars being wasted like this.  CAGW is pleased that SSA has eliminated this practice, effective in 1999, but should have done so this year.  It’s surprising that the union did not demand additional compensation to help employees get over their shopping addiction.”

CAGW is a 600,000-member nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of  government waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.

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