The Real Two Americas

From WSJ:

It turns out that public employees earn salaries that are about one-third higher on average than what is provided to private workers per hour worked. But the real windfall for government workers is in benefits. Those are 70% higher than what standard private employers offer, as shown in the nearby table. Government health benefits are twice as generous as what workers employed by private employees earn. By the way, nearly this entire benefits gap is accounted for by unionized public employees. Nonunion public employees are paid roughly what private workers receive.

What if government workers earned the average of what private workers earn? States and localities would save $339 billion a year from their more than $2.1 trillion budgets. These savings are larger than the combined estimated deficits for 2010 and 2011 of every state in America.

*****
So if your state is broke, this is a major reason. Eventually, governors, state legislators and city council members are going to have to decide whether protecting America’s privileged class of government workers is a higher priority than funding such core functions of government as public safety. Something has to give. It’s time to close the biggest pay gap in America.

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18 Comments on “The Real Two Americas”

  1. xbradtc Says:

    It would be one thing if it were just the state, county and municipal governments.

    But then there’s all the other government entities, such as school districts, water boards, and the gazillion other bodies that have proliferated over the last 50 or so years, such as transit authorities, port authorities and a bunch that you’ve never heard of.

  2. Car in Says:

    Yep. We’re fucked.

    I didn’t even go into the unfunded pension crises.

  3. agiledog Says:

    Don’t even get me started about “transit authorities” – I live in MA and have the people who brought us the Big Dig – the largest public ream job to date.

    For example, the unionized public (state) employees in MA could get paid for unused sick time upon the end of their active employment. This benefit does not exist in the private realm. One recent example had the person getting close to $100K. When this came to light, there was OUTRAGE!, so all NEW employees don’t get this benefit. Anybody who got hired under the old rules gets to keep it. Change you can believe in.

  4. Kirby Says:

    AD – I work for a non-union auto supplier, I am in marketing/engineering office, but all of our employees get their unused sick pay at the end of the year. About 2 weeks pay a year for me, not an uncommon benefit.

  5. wiserbud Says:

    AD – I work for a non-union auto supplier,

    OMG!!!1!1!!1!!! A non-union shop??? You are actually allowing yourself to be taken advantage of like this by the evil Corporations????

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN??

    Get thee to a Union Shop!! It’s the only way you will ever receive the fair and equitable treatment that you deserve.

  6. geoff Says:

    all of our employees get their unused sick pay at the end of the year. About 2 weeks pay a year for me, not an uncommon benefit.

    Every company I’ve ever run, worked at, or dealt with has had a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy. Probably about 40 companies, most in aerospace & defense. I’m just now joining a company that returns 1/2 your unused sick leave to you at the end of the year.

  7. agiledog Says:

    “unused sick time upon the end of their active employment”

    and

    “get their unused sick pay at the end of the year”

    Sing with me Kirby: “One of these things is not like the other…”

    And like geoff, I have experience at or with about 20 companies, in 30 years in high-tech, and every one had a “use it or lose it” policy with regard to sick time. So to make you happy, I’ll rephrase that to “private realm of modern companies” – you know, the ones that aren’t fully unionized, don’t have retirement plans save for employees’ 401Ks, etc.

  8. Hotspur Says:

    The “non-union auto supplier” is kind of a load of BS. They may not be union, but they do have to somewhat compete with the union for their labor by paying fairly comparable wages and bennies. Otherwise the UAW would be all over them like stink on shit trying to organize the workers.

    Every company I’ve ever worked for including my own has been “use it or lose it.”

    Oh, and BTW, my state is broke.

  9. Vmaximus Says:

    I have worked in the automotive industry (aftermarket parts manufacturing) The only thing we shared with the industry was a large Christmas bonus.

    We were allowed 1 personal day a quarter if we did not clock in late anytime in the previous quarter. No sick days.

    In the engineering firms I worked at 1 out of 6 gave a bonus at the end of the year that was roughly equivalent to unused sick days

  10. Kirby Says:

    AD – okey dokey… my point stands – when I have a min to advise you of other companies that compensate for attendance, I will.

    Hotspur – it’s not a load… we are considered the benchmark so no competition.

    Geoff.. I can’t compete w/ 40 companies… geez how old are you?

  11. geoff Says:

    Geoff.. I can’t compete w/ 40 companies… geez how old are you?

    Old enough, child. Old enough.

  12. Kirby Says:

    Geoff…I feel younger already… thanks

  13. agiledog Says:

    “my point stands” – I didn’t deny that it did. I didn’t claim you were wrong. I, and the others, have pointed out that the benefit you report is the exception to the rule. And in your sweeping review of employee compensation that you’ll be providing, please:

    1) identify any private employers that provide the “paid for unused sick time when employment is finished” benefit that I described for a public employee (which is the point of the post), and

    2) indicate profitability of those companies that pay for unused sick time versus those that don’t, and

    3) show what percentage of the employers provide this benefit.

    It is your claim that paying for unused sick time at the end of a year is not a rare practice – your claim, your burden of proof. Even though I was discussing the outragous benefits of PUBLIC employees, and a benefit a state was paying a union employee. You can go ahead and try to argue that the rare behavior of a PRIVATE employer for a non-union employee somehow invalidates my point about a PUBLIC employer with a union employee. As I said “One of these things is not like the other….”

  14. Hotspur Says:

    “Hotspur – it’s not a load… we are considered the benchmark so no competition.”

    Sounds a lot like the government.

  15. Kirby Says:

    AD – I have not researched other companies… and I have not worked for 40 different companies. But the company I currently work for (10 years) has zero debt, weathered the auto crisis and we are now SWAMPED at capacity.. like I said we are considered the benchmark for our product (aluminum wheels). And not only do I get paid for sick days, vacation days and usually bonuses too (except for last 2/3 years). The reason our company is successful is because of the employees and our CEO respects that.

    I know other folk who have the same benefits or better…

  16. Kirby Says:

    Oh. Hotspur.. just saw your comment.. .we are not government sponsored… actually publicly traded company.. think its “sup” if you want to check wall street.

  17. Vmaximus Says:

    Around here the police depts have a policy of not paying overtime. They do Give Comp time at 1.5 hr per hour worked over 40. It is quite common for a guy to work up until retirement age and start taking his comp time I have heard of guys that have 2 years of comp time saved.

    I wish I could get that kind deal!

  18. agiledog Says:

    Pardon my french, but you’re talking out your ass, Kirby. Your first comment ended with this: “About 2 weeks pay a year for me, not an uncommon benefit.” – this is a claim of knowledge – you are claiming this is a common benefit (the double negative “not uncommon” means “common”). Then you said: “when I have a min to advise you of other companies that compensate for attendance, I will”. This further indicates you posses information and/or knowledge of the state of benefits packages. Now you state: “AD – I have not researched other companies… and I have not worked for 40 different companies.” So you lied before. You don’t have the research or personal experience to support your claim that what you receive is a common benefit. You try to fake it by saying: “I know other folk who have the same benefits or better…” – yeah, your co-workers at your employer.

    None of which has anything to do with, or disproves my point: I highlighted an excessive benefit paid by a state goverment to a union worker – that’s MY money they’re wasting away. And that supports the point of Car in’s post – there are two Americas – public employment and private employment.


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