Stant123 – I greatly appreciate your response, but sadly must correct you on many points. So allow me to start:
It's that pretty much all of the discussion is from people who have never been a public employee,
Sorry Stant. I am a public employee, albeit State (or Commonwealth as is more accurate in my case), not federal. So I fully understand the whole situation. That being said, your first error, outside of the false assumption above, was in assuming that State, Local AND Federal employees are all the same. That is not the case.
because if they were one, they'd already know that all of these analysts only focus on a piece of the picture, rather then the whole, and the people getting all pissy about everything are a bunch of followers who believe everything their told rather then doing something crazy like, actually becoming one and finding out the facts for themselves.
I will make one small concession. I am not a public employee in Wisconsin (the hint about Commonwealth should be a dead giveaway if not already known – google the term). However, the rest of your rant is essentially moot since I am a Public employee, so I have “found out” more than you do, since you are merely a former public employee.
As a former public employee from my younger days, now private sector worker, I can see that most of you are looking at this out of spite and ignorance more then anything.
Incorrect again. I looked at it strictly from a dollars and sense aspect.
You hear tax dollars, wasteful spending, and look how much better their retirement is then ours and you go ape shit over it.
Incorrect again. I would say my retirement is on par with theirs.
This is not a normal situation for most public employees. How many times have you just pushed a law through that ensures the state or federal government pays it's sewer department workers fair and equal wages?
Now we get to the meat of your objection, and you are again incorrect. Simply put, there is no need for such laws as the basis of the wages paid is done by the personnel departments of the states after surveying what private industry pays for identical or similar jobs. That does not mean the pay is equal, only that the scale is comparable. Why would the scale not be equal then?
2 answers depending upon if you are federal or state. In the federal case, it is not equal because while private industry experiences downturns and instances where the salaries of workers actually decrease due to downturns, the federal government has never had a downturn in recent memory. There has not been a contraction in the federal spending budget in my life time. The second case, the states, the reason is that the states have cut budgets, and frozen worker’s salaries and in some cases, laid off workers! It has happened in my state (we have not gotten a raise for 4 ½ years until this year – more on that later). So state worker’s salaries lag private salaries at times (it is a back and forth – some years they are down, some years they are up), and exceed them at other times. State workers are not feds.
Public employees must be allowed to unionize to ensure this themselves, since obviously, you the tax payer and voter doesn't give a damned one way or another about their health and safety.
False assumption. The market does what even unions cannot. If the state is not going to pay a competitive wage (note that is not an equal, but competitive), then the state does not hire employees. The market ensures that the state has to at least keep their wages in the ball park with the private sector, so no union is necessary (and indeed a hindrance).
You think it's you the tax payer that made it mandatory that all public agency workers who could at any point in the course of their duties come into contact with feces must get a hepatitis B shot in order to be cleared to work? You really think that? No.
You got that partially right. But the taxpayer does indeed make sure they get those shots. Do you want to shake the hand of the man with hep-B? So the public passes the laws that makes those benefits available. That is the part you got wrong. The part you got right is that it is not only the public, but the employees. The state feels it is cheaper to pay for prevention than a cure, so they have built that cost into the wage cost, and the employees, feeling safer, accept the employment.
You didn't have anything to do with that at all. The unions protecting public agency workers did that.
That is a false assumption not born out by facts.
Ear muffs and filter masks for every park maintenance worker that's operating a ride on mower for hours a day every day. I suppose you the tax payer thinks that was your doing as well. Nope. Union again.
Again incorrect. Again, it is cost benefit. The cost to the state is cheaper than the alternative – not giving them the protective gear. Unions have nothing to do with it.
How about making rubberized gloves a part of the standard uniform for city light and power workers to protect them from electrocution. That was state assembly bill what now? Oh that's right, the public employee unions did that one too.
Again, a false assumption. With no evidence to back that up.
So remind me why public employees shouldn't be allowed to unionize again?
The logic of it fails you. The reason is simple. Unions are bargaining against themselves in so doing when it comes to public employees. In other words, they are taking from one pocket, removing a vigorish, and putting into another pocket with nothing to show except the vigorish.
The truth about public sector jobs is that NO, we don't actually work for the public. No matter how much you or anyone else wants to believe that we do, no matter how much you try to spin things, the truth is we do not. We work for the government agency who in turn works for the public.
You contradict yourself. You might as well say “No, I do not work for Ford, I work for the IT division which works for Ford”. Sounds kind of stupid when you use a private company instead of trying to obfuscate a public employee.
Your taxes pay the government agency to operate, not the employee to do their assigned job.
No, they pay your salary. Period. The money (except again on the federal level) is not minted out of thin air.
There is no such thing as a profit.
This is true – However there is such a things as waste – and a LOT of it.
All monies are always spent, period.
2 things here, one it is incorrect. Sometimes all the money is not spent (that does lead to surpluses). Second, that mentality (it does exist) is what leads to waste. Buying for the sake of buying, not for the sake of need.
No, the government agency pays for all of that stuff at no cost to you.
No, the cost is always born out by you. There is no one else to pay the bills. Whether you pay a water bill, or taxes, you pay for it (and in our case, the cost of the water facilities are included in the bills – it is EXACTLY like a private company in that respect).
A private sector job, doing the exact same work, that employee made $130.
That may have been true at one time, but it is rarely the case now. See above.
Mind you, this is work on top of my normal hours, not every public employee get's paid overtime, in fact, most do not. Once you reach a certain level within the agency, or as part of the CBA you agreed to for your specific job, you become salary rather then hourly. That means if you work 40 hours a week or 60, you still only get paid for 40. If you work less then 40, you get paid less. Ain't that a bitch.
Yes it is, and it is the same in the private sector. It may surprise you to know I have never worked in a job where I got anything more than straight time for over time, private or public. And the days I got any compensation for OT (other than comp time off) are many years in the past.
So who shows up to assess the damage of a sink hole that opened up in the ground at 3am,
Who repairs your power pole at 3am? Who repairs your phone line at 3am? Who is sitting behind a cash register at 3am so you can get some aspirin?
Here's another difference. Private sector company. You don't like how things are being handled, you complain to their hotline, maybe even bitch up a storm to one of their people working some counter in some building... At the end of the day, all of your complaining has accomplished is nothing. Maybe, just maybe, some low grade entry level person get's fired. But let's be real, that person wasn't the problem. They're just the scape goat to satisfy you, and it probably doesn't even fix the underlying issue to the problem. Now let's look at that public sector guy. You're not happy with the service provided. Guess what you do? You call your council member or the Mayor if the city isn't so huge that they actually take your calls, or you go to that big building known better as City Hall. You complain to them and tell them you'll make sure they don't get voted for on the next election. Now they're on a mission to please you because the vote you and your friends and family and neighbors provide, that's important to them.
I will tell you, having worked for Local and State (Commonwealth) government, that the above is pure BS. Period. Oh, the mayor or other schmuck will take your call – and do NOTHING. I know, I have been on both ends of the calls.
Go to your local city's website and look up pay grades for employees, you can see every last one of them).
Or the local newspaper since it is a matter of public record. Our local paper did a FOIA and then proceeded to publish every employee’s salary.
It's still less then that private sector guy, and we still only see $100 of it. That extra $5 you think you're paying, you're not paying that as extra.
Yes YOU are. You the taxpayer. The money can only come from one place – the public. Whether the employees are being paid more or less than the private does not change the fact that your entire salary comes from taxes (and fees in the case of things like DMV).
That's monies owed to the employee anyway, it just never goes to the employee in the first place, unlike it would in the private sector.
Untrue. There is a lot of money that the private sector employee never sees, that the company has to pay in any event. FICA? The Employer has to pay the same as what is deducted out of your check. So while you think the “employer” is getting stuck with the bill, the reality is that it is coming out of the amount the employer would be paying the employee. Private employers factor in all costs when making an offer of salary, FICA, Medicaid, Unemployment, Worker’s Compensation Insurance, etc. These monies the employee never sees, yet they are a part of his compensation (as are any other costs like health and retirement contributions the employer makes).
That $5 you feel you paid as extra, that's really money earned by the public employee that was in essence, given back to you.
I for one am not going to get into an argument of “public employee earnings” since they are doing the work and are earning what they get. However, when a private employer goes belly up (or falls on hard times) often employees are forced to accept cuts (the airlines post 9-11 comes to mind since I have friends who took a big hit then). The whole issue is not “what they earn”, but rather when times get tough, their willingness (or unwillingness) to suck it up like everyone else. This they have to do, and this is what is happening.
All of this is to say that the article has nothing to do with what a public employee should be paid, or should not be paid. Only that the myth of “sacrifice” is just that. A myth as is being demonstrated in Wisconsin. These employees, when asked to “sacrifice” due to hard times, squealed like stuck pigs. Why? The numbers tell the story. They were on a gravy train that they did not want to get off.