Goldwater Institute releases “months-long investigation” on unions – Just in time to help Wes Gullett and push ALEC garbage

22 Sep 2011 07:15 pm
Posted by: Donna

Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been hyperventilating into my email inbox the past few days about, guess what? You guessed it: OMG UNION BOSSES TAKING OVER THE CITY!!1! Here’s today’s missive, brought to me by Sal via the AZ GOP, which is totally not colluding with the nonpartisan Goldwater Institute to promote a partisan agenda:

Exposed: Union Control at City Hall
Goldwater Institute releases months-long investigative report

Greg Satnton(sic) – Supported by unions
Wes Gullett – Rebublican who will cut red tape

Phoenix public union leaders are paid at least $3.7 million of taxpayers’ money to do union work instead of their regular jobs – while the city is cutting services to libraries, seniors, children and parks because of budget restraints.

A story by Mark Flatten, an investigative journalist now working for the Goldwater Institute, shows that the city pays for union leaders to take more than 73,000 hours off their city jobs to do union work.

This is with public dollars, your money, not from union dues. This dramatically demonstrates how much public unions own city hall.

Taxpayers’ money is going to pay them to not do city work. You’re paying union bosses to fight for bigger and bigger pieces of the public purse.

According to the Goldwater Institute report Money for Nothing: Phoenix taxpayers foot the bill for union work

All seven public unions have multiple workers who are paid their regular salary and benefits when they get “release time” to do union work instead of their assigned job.

The top two to six union officials in the seven units take the entire year doing union work – not one hour of city work – and get not only their full city salaries and benefits but also hundreds of hours of automatically paid overtime.

Two unions get lobbyists paid with taxpayer dollars.

Some union bosses also get salaries and stipends from their unions.
None of this is audited to see if they’re actually showing up and doing any work.

The practice may violate Arizona’s “gift clause,” according to constitutional lawyer Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute.

While this is shocking, it’s not really surprising. Phoenix staff compensation grew 23 percent over the past five years, during the worst recession in most people’s lifetime, while services were curtailed and taxes and fees shot up.

I’ve highlighted the struggles you and your family have been going through, how businesses have to fight through the expense and red tape of city bureaucracy to create a job.

This report is one more glaring example of how Phoenix city government is dominated by insulated insiders who just don’t get it. This shows how much union control exists at city hall.

You’ve heard me say that your voice must be heard in order to make a difference. Real reform will not occur until you get your family and neighbors to demand real change. You must vote.

To fix this problem, I recommend that:

All labor contracts will be available for public inspection at least 30 days before Council can vote on them so you have an opportunity to tell us what you think.
All key items should be defined in layman’s language, in a glossary, to prevent confusion. For example, if “pay” means only salary or if it means salaries and anything else, that should be clearly spelled out.

All previous benefits enjoyed by each labor group should be listed in advance of negotiations, including pay, time off, overtime and seniority benefits.

All negotiation sessions should be taped and transcribed. This will give you the opportunity to see if your city officials are negotiating in your best interest.

The proposed budget will show labor costs, benefits cost, bonuses and raises, and these will be presented on all public hearings on the budget.

All contracts must be audited.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio

Here’s the Goldwater Institute “months-long investigative report” Sal anxiously wants us to read: Yawn. Seriously, this took months? Predictably, Mark Flatten larded his report with lots of anti-union think tank crapola but he did interview some union representatives about release time. They gave sensible explanations of why the time is necessary for training and personnel issues and how it often saves the city money in the long run, which was of course ignored by GI’s Nick Dranias, who used the report to push for (guess what?) union-busting legislation. Not just for an end to regular wages for release time, which he recommended, but an all out ban on public sector unions.

Moreover, no less than elected officials, public employees are trustees of the power delegated by citizens to the government. Public-sector unions violate a basic public trust when they use collective bargaining to secure one-sided and obviously unsustainable benefits. For these reasons and others, the Goldwater Institute recommends that Arizona join North Carolina and other states that completely prohibit state and local government officials from contracting with public employee unions, requiring all employment relationships to be individually negotiated.

Because a group has power and leverage that a lone individual doesn’t and, silly rabbits, collective power is only proper when it is in the hands of elite corporate cabals. Speaking of the American Legislative Exchange Council, here’s them in 2007 on release time for unions:

Resolution on Release Time for Union Business


The Resolution on Release Time for Union Business opposes the practice of public sector
union members receiving release time from their primary responsibilities to participate in
union business.

Model Resolution

WHEREAS, many public agencies, including school districts, regularly provide release
time for union leaders and negotiating team members to conduct union business; and

WHEREAS, such time should be recorded in order to determine how much time an
employee spends on union activity as opposed to performing his/her job duties; and

WHEREAS, such union leaders are often senior level employees at the top of the salary
schedule; and

WHEREAS, drawing out the negotiating process often causes substantial costs to
accrue, especially when an impasse results in prolonged negotiations lasting as long as 6-
12 months; and

WHEREAS, the individual agencies or school districts are still responsible for paying the
salaries of their employees, even when they are not performing their job functions, but
are involved in union business; and

WHEREAS, most agencies and school districts would benefit from requiring unions to
pay for the time their representatives work on union business;

NOW THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the State/Commonwealth of (insert
state) urges legislatures to revise any policy that allows release time for public employees
to conduct union business, and to acknowledge and preserve the role of the states and
federal agencies in the interpretation and enforcement of such laws.

Adopted by the CIED Task Force at the Spring Task Force Summit, May 2, 2007.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors June 2007.

Notice the similarity to Dranias’ policy prescription? Sheesh, Goldwater Institute, you’re not only NOT non-partisan you are not even original.


  1. Comment by Tom on September 23, 2011 6:44 pm

    I’m so tired of Sal and now Wes and their non-sense. Sal was endorsed by Unions twice! Sal voted in favor of the union contracts and knows what’s in them. Wes asked twice to be supported by at least one of the unions and was told no thank you. I wonder if his position would be different if he had union backing?
    Labor unions protect the rights of ALL employees. They demand safe working conditions, quality equipment, and produce some of most highly trained employees to address the needs of the citizens they serve. They contribute to the community by giving back countless hours of community service, taking away valuable time from their own families. Labor unions work with City Hall all the time to preserve the quality of life for all citizens. They set the bar.
    Look in the mirror Sal and Wes, ask yourselves what have you done for the citizens lately, other than spread lies and untruths about the very people who sacrifice so much to make our City the best it can be!

  2. Comment by dude on September 25, 2011 5:23 pm

    Funny thing is, Sal, Wes, and GI are cowards. They’ll attack librarians, gardeners and sewage workers, but they would never dare try to cross the police and fire unions whose members are the most politically active, bring home the largest paychecks and work for the fewest number of years.

  3. Pingback by Democratic Diva » They want it to be a jungle out there for voters on January 8, 2016 1:05 pm

    […] all reminds me eerily of the anti-labor rhetoric that comes from places like the Goldwater […]

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a comment

Democratic Diva is proudly powered by WordPress and WPDesigner.