Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceWomack wins initial support to become Budget chairman Protecting free speech rights through tax reform House passes bill to curb presidential pensions MORE (R-Ga.) has introduced legislation to prohibit federal workers from engaging in union-related activities while on the clock.

The practice, known as "official time," is allowed under the Civil Service Reform Act. Agencies can negotiate how much time federal employees who serve as union representatives can spend on work like arbitration or collective bargaining.

Hice argued that banning the practice would help save money. An Office of Personnel Management report found that federal workers received about $157 million in 2012 while on "official time."

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"By eliminating the ‘official time’ practice, we will return over a billion dollars to hardworking American taxpayers, and shed this shady, wasteful practice that only benefits unions," Hice said in a statement.

The American Federation of Government Employees, a federal employee union, maintained that the "official time" practice ensures workers can advocate for improved working environments.

"Government works best when we empower employee representatives to protect their colleagues from discrimination, retaliation, and unjust treatment. Stripping this vital workplace protection is morally bankrupt and managerially irresponsible," AFGE President J. David Cox said in a statement.