AUSTIN – The Supreme Court of Texas is set to hear oral arguments on public sector labor unions’ “release time” scheme, which forces taxpayers to pay union organizers’ salaries and finance their activities. The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Goldwater Institute are representing taxpayers in the case.

Under release time, government agencies “release” employees from the jobs for which they were hired and instead assign them to work for their private union. While on release time, these government employees engage in political and lobbying activities, negotiate higher wages and benefits, solicit new union members, attend union conferences and meetings, and file costly grievances against their public employer — all while receiving full government pay, benefits, and retirement. This costs taxpayers across the country tens of millions of dollars a year.

“The City of Austin is in a public safety crisis that this release time policy only makes worse,” said lead attorney Robert Henneke, executive director and general counsel at TPPF. “City of Austin firefighters should be doing their jobs, not being assigned to AFA union activities at taxpayer expense.”

“Release time is one of the most corrupt and unlawful ways that the government provides favors to political benefactors and preferred special interests,” said lead attorney Jon Riches, vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute. “We hope the justices will lead the way in protecting taxpayers by striking down these pernicious government-labor-union abuses.”

When: Wednesday, February 21st at 9:00am CT

Where: Supreme Court of Texas, 201 W. 14th Street, Room 104, Austin, Texas 78701

For additional background on the case, click here.


Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin that aims to foster human flourishing by protecting and promoting liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility. The Center for the American Future defends the Constitution through legal opposition to government overreach. The Center launches legal challenges at the administrative, district, and appellate court levels on behalf of ordinary people whose lives, liberty, and property are threatened by government action in defiance of the Constitution.

The Goldwater Institute is a free-market public policy research and litigation organization committed to empowering all Americans to live freer, happier lives, The Goldwater Institute accomplishes tangible results for liberty by working in state courts, legislatures, and communities nationwide to advance, defend, and strengthen the freedom guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and the fifty states.