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Texas Supreme Court to Hear Case on Public Sector Unions Receiving Tax Dollars

February 20, 2024

AUSTIN – The Supreme Court of Texas is set to hear oral arguments Wednesday morning on public sector labor unions’ “release time” scheme, which forces taxpayers to pay union organizers’ salaries and finance their activities. The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Goldwater Institute are representing taxpayers in the case.

Under release time, government agencies “release” employees from the jobs for which they were hired and instead assign them to work for their private union. While on release time, these government employees engage in political and lobbying activities, negotiate higher wages and benefits, solicit new union members, attend union conferences and meetings, and file costly grievances against their public employer — all while receiving full government pay, benefits, and retirement. This costs taxpayers across the country tens of millions of dollars a year.

“The City of Austin is in a public safety crisis that this release time policy only makes worse” said lead attorney Robert Henneke, executive director and general counsel at TPPF. “City of Austin firefighters should be doing their jobs, not being assigned to AFA union activities at taxpayer expense.”

“Release time is one of the most corrupt and unlawful ways that the government provides favors to political benefactors and preferred special interests,” said lead attorney Jon Riches, vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute. “We hope the justices will lead the way in protecting taxpayers by striking down these pernicious government-labor-union abuses.”

When: Wednesday, February 21 at 9:00 am CT

Where: Supreme Court of Texas, 201 W. 14th Street, Room 104, Austin, Texas 78701

For additional background on the case, click here. You can read our case page here



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