Foundation: Under Janus, Union Boss “Release Time” Violates AZ Constitution

Underpinning the Janus ruling was Foundation attorneys’ core argument that all public sector union activities involve influencing the government, and are therefore inherently political speech. Because of this, Foundation staff attorneys now argue that applying Janus to the practice known as union “official time” or “release time” — where government union officials are paid tax money to conduct union business instead of government work — shows how the scheme violates multiple state constitutions. […]

In Arizona for example, Phoenix city employees Mark Gilmore and Mark Harder sued Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego in 2023 for engaging in a scheme that redirects taxpayer funds intended for public employees’ compensation toward political advocacy conducted by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Field II agents.

That case, Gilmore v. Gallego, is now before the Arizona Supreme Court, where Foundation attorneys filed a legal brief arguing that this so-called “release time” scheme violates Arizona’s Gift Clause, which forbids the government from paying out benefits to private parties that serve no public purpose. […]

“Union bosses, who will often screech about ‘corporate welfare,’ are more than happy to arrange so-called ‘release time’ schemes in which taxpayer dollars are funneled toward supporting their massive lobbying efforts,” stated National Right to Work Foundation Vice President and Legal Director William Messenger. “Janus made it plain and simple that compelling public sector employees to fund union activities constitutes forced political speech, and courts everywhere have an obligation to declare such compulsion illegal when foisted on taxpayers.”


All contents from this article were originally published on the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Website.

If you have questions about whether union officials are violating your rights, contact the Foundation for free help. To take action by supporting The National Right to Work Committee and fueling the fight against Forced Unionism, click here to donate now.

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