Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Public Sector Collective Bargaining Agreements Embezzle Taxpayer Funds

In case you still thought collective bargaining agreements were just about increasing pay for public sector employees, and not about funneling taxpayer funds to unions, check out this bit of research from the Goldwater Institute.  It shows that Phoenix taxpayers pay $3.7 million a year to union officials in 7 unions to conduct strictly union business that has nothing to do with any service to the city.  How can you possibly justify that?  This is as bad as the Wisconsin collective bargaining agreement which forced health benefits for unionized school employees workers to be purchased from the union itself (and allowed the union to essentially bleed school districts dry with overpriced benefits).  Anyway, here are the details:

The most generous contract both in terms of money and time is between the city and the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), which represents front-line police officers.

All six of the top officials at PLEA draw their full pay and benefits from the city, even though they are assigned full time to the union. Each is also entitled to 160 hours of overtime annually.

All of the other unions have the salaries and benefits of their top officials paid by the taxpayers.

Each of the unions also receive banks of additional release time ranging from a few hundred to 5,500 hours annually that members can use to conduct union business on city time.

One union leader says it was city officials who insisted on providing additional release hours, which had become a standard provision in contracts with other labor organizations.

PLEA and the Phoenix Fire Fighters Association Local 493 each get 500 hours of annual city-paid time for a lobbyist. The firefighters' union also gets a taxpayer-funded secretary.

Two other unions each receive payments of $14,000 from the city to pay for member training and conferences, and a third gets a $2,000 parking allowance.

It seems that getting rid of these collective bargaining agreements would be a great way to save taxpayer money without compromising any government services. 

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