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OpenMarket: Government Unions

  • Texas Constitution Bans Taxpayer Subsidies to Private Parties

    September 7, 2016

    It may seem obvious, but tax dollars are supposed to be used for purely public purposes, not the private benefit of an individual, corporation, or association. This principle is supported in nearly every state constitution.

    However, many state and local governments grant government unions a direct subsidy known as union release time, a...

  • National Right to Work Committee Wrong on Air Traffic Control Reform

    August 29, 2016

    The handful of conservative critics of air traffic control reform get the facts all wrong. Previously contained in the House’s AIRR Act, the reform plan would put the nation’s air traffic control system in the hands of a nongovernmental nonprofit controlled by a board of directors representing aviation stakeholders.

    That reform model has solid...

  • Bringing Transparency to Union Subsidies

    July 8, 2016

    Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) have co-sponsored legislation this session to ensure reporting of federal employees using “official time,” the practice of the government paying federal employees who are serving as union representatives instead of performing their official, federal duties.

    As Rep. Ross put it, “This bill will require the Office of Personnel Management to submit an annual, detailed report to Congress on the use of ‘official time’ by federal employees, outlining specific types of activities or purposes for which this time was granted.”

    “Ross’ bill was brought into the ‘Government Reform and Improvement Act’ which passed on...

  • Federal Unions' “Official” Waste of Tax Dollars

    June 30, 2016

    While unions representing government employees are still private entities, it is shocking just how much tax dollars they receive for performing union business that does not benefit the public. In the last year data was reported, federal employee unions received over $157 million in taxpayer dollars to conduct union work.

    This phenomenon is known as “official time” and it allows federal employees to forgo their duties to the taxpayers and instead act as a union representative, often for years at a time.

    Americans for Limited Government Foundation has filed numerous FOIA requests, uncovering the reported costs of “official time” for employees who spend 100% of their time working for their union rather than for the taxpayer. And this is on top of all the...

  • Air Traffic Control Reform Opponents Still Miss the Big Picture, Repeat Errors

    May 16, 2016

    Air traffic control is in dire need of reform and modernization, and there is a great plan in the House FAA bill to do just that. But a handful of conservative activists have launched a campaign to roil reform. Last week, I published two posts debunking false claims made by critics. While the vast majority of free market advocates familiar with the issue support the air traffic control corporatization plan contained in the House’s AIRR Act, a small group of anti-union conservative advocates opposes these reforms, citing concerns over labor unions.

    The reform plan would transfer the...

  • Conservatives for Big Government: Air Traffic Control Reform Opponents Have Lost Their Minds or Principles

    May 10, 2016

    UPDATE: Diana Furchtgott-Roth has responded. I offer my reply.

    Right now in Congress, there is a proposal to end a government monopoly, replace it with a customer-driven corporation, slash taxes, and eliminate nearly two-thirds of a government agency’s budget. Not surprisingly, some Washington insiders oppose it. Surprisingly, some of those opponents are self-described conservatives.

    The conservative opposition, led by the Manhattan Institute’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth, wants to scuttle a proposal to spin off the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air...

  • California Court's Indefensible Defense of Dysfunctional Education Policies

    April 15, 2016

    A California appeals court yesterday restored a series of education policies that harm students by making ineffective teachers extremely difficult to fire. The court overturned a lower court ruling, Vergara v. California, which had struck down teacher tenure, “last in, first out” personnel policies, and a complicated process to challenge dismissals.

    The plaintiffs have said they plan to appeal to the California Supreme Court. They should, given the stakes involved and the appeal court’s strange reasoning. Moreover, education reform activists in other states should continue pursue their own challenges as well. There is an ongoing case in New York State...

  • Wisconsin Judge Rules that Workers' Wages are Unions’ Property

    April 10, 2016

    On Friday, April 8, a Wisconsin judge handed unions a surprising victory—surprising because of the argument behind his decision.

    Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed with the argument made by three unions challenging Wisconsin’s right-to-work law that the law is an unconstitutional taking of union property because unions are required to represent people who opt out of joining the union and paying union dues.

    Right to work is not an unconstitutional taking because unions choose to become exclusive representatives. The duty of fair representation is one that unions impose on themselves. Private-sector unions may act as members-only unions and choose not to represent non-members.

    In addition, unions receive something of value as exclusive...

  • Air Traffic Control Reforms Will Give Us Modern Technology, Not Union Giveaways

    April 6, 2016

    Guest Post by David Grizzle
    ​Former Chief Operating Officer and Chief Counsel, FAA

    As the former chief operating officer and chief counsel at the FAA, I saw how the lack of modern technology hampers us from more effectively routing the 2 million people who fly every day. We are one of the few remaining developed countries in the world that relies on paper strips and outdated technology like ground-based radar to direct the most technologically advanced planes the world has seen.

    We have a historic opportunity now to reform air traffic control to enhance safety, provide a steady and reliable funding stream for high-tech projects, and improve the flight experience for consumers. Imagine knowing with certainty when you arrive at the airport for your weekly flight home that you won’t be delayed because of bad weather in another part of the country...

  • Illinois Pension Reform that Can Pass State Supreme Court Muster

    April 6, 2016

    When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

    That seems like such a simple concept that it shouldn’t need stating, but in the area of public pension reform, it’s often proven difficult to implement.

    For states facing huge pension shortfalls, it means to stop adding to the total of pension liabilities. When it has been implemented, as in Utah, it has worked.

    Better yet, it can be implemented in states whose constitutions prevent lawmakers from making any changes to pension obligations—as in Illinois, where a judge struck down a Chicago reform law on precisely those grounds.

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