Louisville Subsidizes Union Activity

A plague on public finances known as union release time infects nearly every state and municipal government. This inappropriate government expenditure/practice excuses public employees from their regularly assigned duties to perform union activities on the taxpayers dime.

According to a recent public records request by WorkplaceChoice.org, Louisville-Jefferson County metro area authorized thousands of hours of union release time to its public employees.

Specifically, in FY 2012, Louisville allotted a total of 6,955.15 hours in union release time that cost approximately $156,241.72 (see original record here).

Fortunately, Kentucky’s constitution limits what kind of expenditures its municipalities can make. Section 179 of Kentucky’s constitution states, “The General Assembly shall not authorize any county or subdivision thereof, city, town or incorporated district, to become a stockholder in any company, association or corporation, or to obtain or appropriate money for, or to loan its credit to, any corporation, association or individual.”

These constitutional provisions are called gift clauses. In Arizona, the Goldwater Institute has used the gift clause to end the practice of union release time (read more here, here and here).