USPS Must Rescind Its Ban on Employees Taking Leave to Campaign for Union-Backed Candidates

August 16, 2018

The U.S. Postal Service must reverse a new policy that banned employees from taking unpaid time off to campaign for political candidates ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, a third-party arbitrator has ruled.

The decision came after postal unions challenged the policy as violating their collective bargaining agreements and First Amendment rights. Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced the changes to leave without pay guidelines last year following an independent investigation that found the agency engaged in “systemic violations” of the Hatch Act that led to an “institutional bias” in favor of certain candidates. That law prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain political activity while on the clock or in an official capacity.

The Office of Special Counsel reported the Hatch Act violations after the USPS inspector general found the agency spent $90,000 on overtime to cover for employees who took time off to campaign in advance of the 2016 election.

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