CaseRozenblit v. Lyles
“Under release time, government employees are “released” from the jobs they were hired to perform to work exclusively for government unions—all while receiving taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits. While on release time, government workers are paid to increase union membership, engage in political activities, lobby the government, file grievances against their employer, and negotiate for higher wages and benefits, among other things.” – The Goldwater Institute
Two New Jersey taxpayers challenged teachers’ union’s practice in Jersey City, New Jersey, under which taxpayer dollars pay for two full-time salaries of teachers on “leave” to work as full-time union officials. After the taxpayers won at the court of appeals, the union and school district appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The Fairness Center filed a brief in the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of three clients—two Pennsylvania taxpayers and a member of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System—who had challenged similar “ghost teacher” practices in Pennsylvania. Their brief urges the New Jersey Supreme Court “to affirm the lower court’s conclusion that release time is unenforceable as against public policy; such a ruling . . . will provide much-needed persuasive authority for neighboring state courts, perhaps making any future litigation over release time in Pennsylvania more efficient or, better yet, unnecessary.”
The Fairness Center provided free representation to these three clients in challenging Pennsylvania’s own version of “ghost teachers.” In Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Allentown Education Association had used taxpayer dollars to fund the salary, benefits, and pension credits for its presidents, who worked full time for the union. After years of continued litigation, the Pennsylvania State Education Association finally dropped its efforts to secure publicly funded pensions for Allentown ghost teachers and agreed to purchase annuities to cover their retirement costs.
If you believe you have been hurt by a public employee union official and would like to speak with the Fairness Center, please click here.