Taxpayers Spend Millions A Year on Union Activities

Op-ed in The Detroit News addresses union release time

Michigan taxpayers are spending approximately $3 million a year to allow union officials time to work on union business rather than teach students.

Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Jarrett Skorup wrote about the privilege known as union release time in a recent op-ed published in The Detroit News. Taxpayers are on the hook not only for the often six-figure salaries of these union employees, but also for the replacement teachers who must be paid to take their place in the classroom.

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Skorup says even districts in financial trouble are diverting money from the classroom to fund union work.

The Taylor school district, which has run deficits year after year, spends well over $100,000 for four union officials’ release time. The president and vice president of both the teachers union and other administrative staff work part-time for the district and part-time for their unions.…

And Detroit Public Schools may be the worst offender. According to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, the district has seven union officials doing “other professional business” — hired by the district to work for schools, but instead spending their time on union business. Why is a bankrupt district spending money in this manner?

Senate Bill 280, introduced by Sen. Marty Knollenberg, would put an end to union release time, but it has been sitting in the State House since November. Skorup said Michiganders’ taxes should be spent in the classroom and that, if unions wish to lobby, they should pay their own expenses.

Read the full op-ed in The Detroit News.


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