Fox News Features Fight Against Release Time

Public money funds union activities in many states

Many public unions have negotiated release time into their contracts, allowing publicly employed union officials to receive a salary to spend all or part of their time on union business. A bill that would prevent taxpayers from funding release time was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate.

Release time is not unique to Michigan — it takes place in other states, as well as at the national level, as Fox News recently reported. Mackinac Center Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio commented for their story:

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Release time costs local, state and federal governments hundreds of millions of dollars. Figures for states, counties and municipalities are not known, but at the federal level, release time costs taxpayers an estimated $122 million annually, according to the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy. While no one disputes there is union business to be conducted, and release time is part of collective bargaining agreements, critics say the practice allows for waste and should be funded by union dues, not taxpayers.…

“It’s extremely troubling to see, when you have examples like union officials say there is not enough money going to public works yet they have teachers collect salaries from districts they don't even work for," Vernuccio said. "This does not help the taxpayer at all.”

The full article is available at the Fox News website.

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