For Immediate Release: 3/10/2016
Contact: Zachary Janowski
Mobile: (860) 384-5777
Connecticut Gives State Employees $4.1 Million in Paid Time Off for Union Business
Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Unions
March 10 – All Connecticut state employee union contracts include a provision that allows state employees to work for their unions while getting paid by state taxpayers.
The Yankee Institute’s latest study, Union Time on the Taxpayer Dime, highlights this costly practice. At a time when lawmakers are looking to fill gaping deficits for years to come, this practice should be scrutinized. The study found state employees spent 121,000 hours – the equivalent of more than a year’s worth of work for 50 full-time employees – on union work while on the state’s clock.
The total direct cost – outside of state colleges and universities – is $4.1 million.
Indirect costs, if included, would force the number higher. Fringe benefits typically cost nearly half of payroll. For at least some of these positions, the state would need to pay a second person to do the necessary work while another employee is away on union business. Finally, employees can also use this time to increase their own overtime.
“State workers should serve the public while they are on the clock, not union special interests,” said Carol Platt Liebau. “This practice is wasteful and counter-productive. Fortunately, Connecticut’s leaders have an opportunity to end union release time during the current round of contract negotiations.”
Trey Kovacs, labor policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote the study for the Yankee Institute by filing Freedom of Information Act requests and analyzing the results.
“Despite the prevalence of this kind of taxpayer subsidy to government unions, it is rarely brought to the light of day,” said Kovacs. “At a time when taxpayer dollars are stretched thin in Connecticut and other states, the government should stop funding activities that only serve the special interests of government unions and do not advance a public purpose.”
The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.