AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently intervened in a lawsuit against the city of Austin that challenges a labor agreement with the Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975.
The agreement between the city and the association allows for “release time,” which permits employees to work for the union at the expense of taxpayers.
Paxton alleges three full-time employees are being paid each year to do nothing but engage in union business, such as lobbying government officials, participating in partisan political activities and negotiating for higher wages. Alleged conduct of this nature violates the Texas Constitution anti-gift clause provisions.
“The city of Austin has abused its taxing power and with it the public trust,” Paxton said.
“The city is siphoning money that should go to vital emergency services and redirecting it towards a labor union’s political activity. It is a basic tenet of democratic government that tax money be oriented toward a common good. An agreement that enriches a private organization at the cost of Austin residents’ health and safety cannot be allowed to stand.”