City & Local Reform

It turns out that you can fight town hall. Here’s how we’re standing up for local citizens and winning.

<p>It turns out that you can fight town hall. Here’s how we’re standing up for local citizens and winning. </p>

The Goldwater Institute recently filed a lawsuit challenging Phoenix’s “release time” practice that sends six city police officers to work as full-time union managers, 35 to work as part-time union representatives, and one to work as a union lobbyist. Although these employees are released from city duties to perform union duties, taxpayers continue to pay the officers’ salaries and benefits.

PHOENIX — Calling it an unconstitutional giveaway that harms taxpayers and takes police resources off the streets, two Phoenix residents today filed suit against the City of Phoenix and the city’s largest police union, seeking to end the widespread practice of allowing public-sector employees to do union work while on the city payroll.
 
Working with the Goldwater Institute, William R. Cheatham and Marcus Huey filed suit in Maricopa County Superior Court.
 

In September, my colleague Mark Flatten released an investigative report showing that Phoenix and other Arizona cities spend millions of dollars every year to pay employees to perform union work on city time. Less than three months later, we are going to court on behalf of Phoenix taxpayers to put an end to the practice of union “release time.”

PHOENIX — In Arizona and across the country, small business owners and entrepreneurs spend billions of dollars and countless hours complying with regulations. But a new recommendation from the Goldwater Institute could offer these businesses help – and boost the jobs outlook along the way.

Natasha Nimer had a simple question: As a trustee in a local labor union representing City of Phoenix employees, did she have a duty to check the books of a taxpayer-funded insurance account it managed?

So she asked the executive board of AFSCME Local 2960. The response was an emphatic “no.”

She dropped the matter and thought it would end there.

She was wrong.

Phoenix taxpayers spend millions of dollars to pay full salary and benefits for city employees to work exclusively for labor unions, a Goldwater Institute investigation found.

Collective bargaining agreements with seven labor organizations require the city to pay union officers and provide members with thousands of additional hours to conduct union business instead of doing their government jobs.

Mesa pitched a softball to the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and the Cubs hit it out of the park – but taxpayers should cry foul. Under a new contract, the city will shell out $84 million to build a sparkling new stadium for Cubs spring training. The city promised an additional $15 million for parking, power lines, and other infrastructure, on top of costs for maintenance and capital improvements for 30 years.

It rarely snows in the Valley — especially in October. But the Goodyear city council is about to get snowed by United Goodyear Fire Department Local 4005.

From Phoenix to Pima County, politicians and public-sector unions routinely agree to put union representatives on the government payroll, paying them millions of taxpayer dollars exclusively for union work, renewing these agreements year after year.

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