By Paul Kersey/Mackinac Center
The typical unionized government employee pays more than $450 dollars annually in membership dues or agency fees. With that kind of money available, one would think that unions could afford to pay their own staff for the time that they spend on union business. But for some reason, they don’t. Instead, local taxpayers provide many local union officials with paid “release time” or “official time” for union activities. This is a misuse of taxpayer dollars that should be brought to an end.
It is one thing to have an employee who happens to serve as a local president or steward take time off for bargaining or to prepare a grievance. For better or worse, Michigan has unionized local governments and as long as that is the case the bargaining process has to be allowed to work itself out. But bargaining and grievances are union business, not public business.