Thwarting Union’s Theft of Vacation Time Was No Small Matter

Thwarting Union’s Theft of Vacation Time Was No Small Matter

Thwarting Union’s Theft of Vacation Time Was No Small Matter

How is that government and government unions seem to get to do whatever they want? And union bosses get to manipulate, deceive and skirt the rules?

Who can blame them? They have deep pockets, and they’re trying to keep it that way — at the expense of taxpayers and middle-class public workers.

Recently, the city of Cincinnati and AFSCME 8 believed they could perpetually live above the rules to grow their big, fat piggy banks.

Thankfully, a brave employee from the city’s Health Department came to the Freedom Foundation in Ohio with a frighteningly illegal story to tell.

The city had contractually agreed to allow AFSCME 8 to seize four hours of vacation time annually from her and all the other city employees AFSCME 8 represents. The hours would be banked for use by union employees doing AFSCME 8 business on the taxpayers’ time.

For years no one noticed. No one was reading the fine print, and four hours a year isn’t all that much.

Here’s why it matters.

  1. AFSCME 8, which confiscated more than $20 million dues-paying members in 2021, according to federal LM-2 filings, was absolved from paying more full-time staff to represent the Cincinnati employees. Several city employees could conduct union business using the time forcibly donated by their co-workers.
  • AFSCME 8 collected 7,296 hours annually to be used by three Cincinnati city employees to do the union’s political bidding, on a full-time basis, at the taxpayers’ expense.
  • In addition to forking over dues payments, AFSCME 8-represented employees in Cincinnati will also sacrifice thousands of dollars to AFSCME 8 over a 25-year career by having vacation time being withheld for use by the union. Given that vacation time can be cashed out and used for personal expenses upon retirement or leaving city service, this can represent a significant lost asset.
  • Most importantly, this scheme blatantly violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus vs AFSCME, which states that mandatory union membership and dues payments in the public workplace are a violation of the workers’ First Amendment rights. This vacation time was being siphoned without permission from nonmembers for use by AFSCME 8

What at first seemed to be insignificant ended up being very consequential indeed. The architects of this scheme knew the courts would have no sympathy. They had been caught and exposed for cheating nonmembers out of vacation time and violating their First Amendment Rights. 

So the unions chose instead to settle and restore the vacation time of this city Health Department worker and end this unlawful practice.

This legal victory means that several union contracts in Ohio will have to be revised. And countless public employees across the state will have their vacation time returned to them.

Because of dedicated patriots, who support the Freedom Foundation, justice has been served. And the piggy banks of union bosses won’t grow any fatter from stolen vacation time.

Ohio Director
Lauren is a lifelong Ohio resident and calls Cincinnati home. After earning a master’s degree in international politics from Wright State University in 2014, she led an innovative, first of its kind, digital government accountability and transparency project, called the Ohio Checkbook. Through that leadership experience Lauren developed a fierce determination to undermine government corruption. She has since joined the Freedom Foundation as State Director to fight union tyranny and oppression. In her spare time Lauren enjoys collecting early American antiques and trying new restaurants with her husband.