Crackdown sought on union leave for N.J. public workers

A watchdog agency says New Jersey taxpayers are spending millions of dollars to give paid leave to public employees when they’re out doing union business.

While it’s not illegal, the State Commission of Investigation found significant variations on how time off is authorized for union work.

Some of those people have government job titles but don’t do any government work, said Lee Seglem, SCI assistant director.

“In some cases, it has gone on for decades,” Seglem said. “We have done an analysis that has found that some individuals who have spent say 60 or 70 percent of their entire career out on government paid union leave retire as members of the public pension system and collect pensions as well.”

The commission is urging Gov. Chris Christie and the Legislature to eliminate taxpayer-funded union leave or establish uniform rules for granting it.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.