The article was deemed “left with too many unanswered questions”, so any comment on that subject is welcomed.

Public union employees in Missouri can carry out union duties during regular business hours without any salary penalty, a new publication from the Competitive Enterprise Institute reveals. This practice, known as union release time, amounts to taxpayers subsidizing public employees not to work.

“For example the Parkway School District issued the Communication Workers of America [which also unionize public workers] 20 days of release time in 2011-2012 at a cost of $2,489.76,” policy analyst Trey Kovacs said in his full report from information obtained from the disctrict. The total cost of this release through 2013-2014, in addition to paying part of the salary compensation for the Parkway National Education Association president, was over $90,000.

“However, there is almost no way to know the extent of this practice due to a lack of transparency,” Kovacs said in an interview. “Most departments either told me that no such record existed — they kept no record of their employees’ timetable whatsoever — or that such records were closed to the public.”

“Others, like the Department of corrections, told me that my request would cost $22,000 and over 1,900 man-hours to get, which is too expensive,” he continued.

Kovacs believes that Missouri taxpayers deserve to know the extent of the problem, considering that the practice could be unconstitutional. “The [Missouri Constitution] states that the Legislature cannot give public monies to private individuals unless it serves a public purpose.” According to him, union release time does not qualify as public purpose

The CWA St.Louis local refused to make any comments on the subject, saying that “this [the paid union release practices] sounds completely fake.”

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