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Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 02/19/2011

Are Wisconsin's state and local workers overpaid?

By Ezra Klein

"Republicans say that public-sector employees have become a privileged class that overburdened taxpayers," write Karen Tumulty and Brady Dennis. The question, of course, is whether it's true. Consider this analysis the Economic Policy Institute conducted comparing total compensation -- that is to say, wages and health-care benefits and pensions -- among public and private workers in Wisconsin. To get an apples-to-apples comparison, the study's author controlled for experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship and disability, and then sorted the results by education. Here's what he got:

wisconsinpay.jpg

If you prefer it in non-graph form: "Wisconsin public-sector workers face an annual compensation penalty of 11%. Adjusting for the slightly fewer hours worked per week on average, these public workers still face a compensation penalty of 5% for choosing to work in the public sector."

The deal that unions, state government and -- by extension -- state residents have made to defer the compensation of public employees was a bad deal -- but it was a bad deal for the public employees, not for the state government. State and local governments were able to hire better workers now by promising higher pay later. They essentially hired on an installment plan. And now they might not follow through on it. The ones who got played here are the public employees, not the residents of the various states. The residents of the various states, when all is said and done, will probably have gotten the work at a steep discount. They'll force a renegotiation of the contracts and blame overprivileged public employees for resisting shared sacrifice.

Which gets to the heart of what this is: A form of default. There's been a lot of concern lately that states or municipalities will default on their debt. This is considered the height of fiscal irresponsibility -- an outcome so dire that some are considering various forms of federal support. But the talk that states or cities will default on their obligations to teachers or DMV employees? That's considered evidence of fiscal responsibility. And perhaps it's a better outcome, as defaulting to the banks makes future borrowing costs higher, and can hurt the state economy in the long-run. But it's not a more just outcome.

That, however, is how it's been presented. State and local budgets are in bad shape. They'll need deep reforms across a variety of categories, from tax increases to service cuts to changes to employee compensation. But the focus on public employees -- and the accompanying narrative that they're greedy and overcompensated -- obscures a lot of that: It makes it seem as if the decisions that have to be made are easy and costless and can be shunted onto an interest group that some of us, at least, don't like. It's the Republican version of when liberals suggest we can balance the budget simply by increasing taxes on the rich. But it's not true.

By Ezra Klein  | February 19, 2011; 2:50 PM ET
 
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Comments

no matter what...
the taxpayers pay for every job filled...
and since revenues have fallen...
salaries and benefits must fall too...
that just the way it is...
before the jobs went away...
everyone was financed...
now...
few are...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 19, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If they don't like working in the public sector because the pay is "unfair" perhaps they should work elsewhere.

If they can't get better private sector jobs, they the pay can't be considered unfair. If they could but still chose to work in the public sector, then they are making a conscious decision, again, something that cannot be considered "unfair."

This rant doesn't pass the logic test.

Posted by: concerned1231 | February 19, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

If they don't like working in the public sector because the pay is "unfair" perhaps they should work elsewhere.

If they can't get better private sector jobs, then the pay can't be considered unfair. If they could but still chose to work in the public sector, then they are making a conscious decision, again, something that cannot be considered "unfair."

This rant doesn't pass the logic test.

Posted by: concerned1231 | February 19, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

If the money isn't there, then there is nothing to bargain about.

Posted by: sarno | February 19, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"Wisconsin AFL CIO leaders pointed to an Economic Policy Institute study that shows a public employee with a bachelors degree earns, on average, about $20,000 less in total compensation than someone with the same education working in private industry.

A Republican lawmaker’s staff countered with a Cato Institute study that shows state and local workers receive, on average, $39.66 per hour in total in compensation. That study showed private sector workers in similar positions earned $27.42 for an hour’s work."
http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/116271554.html

Posted by: morattico | February 19, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It may not be that they are overpaid. It may be there are too many of them and by the time one adds up wages, benefits, pensions, early retirement, and all the other perks they get that private sector employees don't, maybe then it's too much.

By the way Klein, thanks for the propaganda graphs.

Posted by: krankyman | February 19, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

People don't make that kind of money here as an average, much less in Wisconsin. Please post the links to this.

Posted by: Gooddogs | February 19, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Of course Walker's relative lost an election and then got appointed to a job with the state at $105,000 (and he's 67 so he's probably already got a pension and is on social security).... seems like Walker takes care of his own....

Posted by: kevinbitz | February 19, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Since teachers are also public sector employees, consider the public school system
in Chicago. It is top heavy, has enjoyed
large increases in spending provided for by
the state and federal governments, and yet has had no discernible impact on student performance.

Posted by: Observer20 | February 19, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

And the taxpayers pay for bloated private sector CEO salaries by not collecting fair taxation - but of course you ignoramuses aren't interested in that - you just want others to suffer because maybe you have had a hard time. Fair is fair - you want to screw public employees - then tax the plutocrats - no $4T giveaway.

Posted by: clemons1 | February 19, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If they don't like working in the public sector because the pay is "unfair" perhaps they should work elsewhere.

If they can't get better private sector jobs, then the pay can't be considered unfair. If they could but still chose to work in the public sector, then they are making a conscious decision, again, something that cannot be considered "unfair."

This rant doesn't pass the logic test.
======
But you're missing an important variable. Some people will accept lower wages for greater stability. So yes, some make a conscious decision to trade income for stability. What's unfair is that now you want to renege on that deal.

Posted by: Frazil | February 19, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I have always been under the impression that government salaries are lower than in the private sector but that the public sector has provided more stability and better benefits. That is the trade off.

At the Federal level there are lots of consultants and contractors that get paid more than government workers but in fact they are doing the government's work so they are really like Federal employees. I think the government would be a lot better off use less contractors and consultants as there are often extra fees attached to using these folks.

Posted by: Pensfans | February 19, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

-------------
the taxpayers pay for every job filled...
and since revenues have fallen...
salaries and benefits must fall too...
.-------------
The only reason Wisconsin has a budget shortfall is because Walker cut taxes for millionaires. So instead of cutting compensation for people who are in the middle class and whom are already payed less then they should be we could stop giving away millions of dollars to millionaires and billionaires.

Posted by: blueman3 | February 19, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Well Mr. Klein got it right but the issue is bigger than that. What democrats haven't figured out is that Mr. Reagan's genius is that he won the ideological fight. He made egalitarianism a dirty word, government working for people became incompetence and corruption, private sector greed become efficiency, poverty is indolence, and tax cuts became the cure for economies good and bad. No one will take up this challenge yet without taking this topic head on, Democrats have no focus.

Posted by: longjohns | February 19, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The projected deficit is 10.9% of GDP.

In 2008 (the most recent year i can find data, in this case from Saez's work) The top 1% 'earned' 21% of income. The top 5% took in 36% of income. Income is ~80% of gdp.

Liberals are right about this, and you are wrong.

Posted by: yoyoy | February 19, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Public sector employees are not complaining that their pay is unfair. It is the enemies of these workers who say their pay is unfair.

What the Economic Policy Institute study doesn't consider is the risk premium for private sector employment. It would quite reasonably account for the 5% difference.

The CATO institute, as we know, exists to provide cooked analyses to be used by people whose policy goals are set by ideology.

What is unfair is to spread lies about public sector pay in order to turn the population against them, and to attempt to deny them their unions - that is, to restrict their freedom of assembly - by government action.

Posted by: j3hess | February 19, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Some people are motivated by a desire to serve the public through government employment, such as teaching, serving in the military, police, firefighting,etc., even though they would probably earn more in the private sector. That is something that most conservatives can't comprehend.

Posted by: billspev1 | February 19, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The conservative war on the public sector continues, using hate, fear and greed as its primary weapons. It threatens a breakthrough that will pull down the temple.

A privileged oligarchy is next. Private wealth will surge even further with public squalor for the rest of us. For the greater majority, the quality of life in USA may soon approach zero but for the privileged in their gated communities all will seem well -superficially.

Or will a fascist dictatorship emerge from the wreckage?

Posted by: AncientTerp | February 19, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The Cato institute paper ignores the fact that the government workers are more educated. Did you hope we just don't notice that? Or is the argument we should stop hiring prosecutors that have been to law school, etc?

Posted by: yoyoy | February 19, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse


That's typical!

Even when you put the numbers in front of these fools, they can't accept it as fact.

Rewriting history just comes naturally for them.


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | February 19, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

A report by the Cato Institute? Really? You mean the same organization funded by the wealthy scuzzballs who wrecked our economy and nation for their own benefit and hires people whose only talent is their ability to come up with new lies to assure their benefactors they deserve to be rich and everyone else deserves to get screwed to make that happen?

They, and the deluded who believe their b.s., are the house servants under slavery who sold everyone else out to the master for their own benefit.

Posted by: DrSepp | February 19, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What the hell difference does the budget make? If I tell the electric compnay I'm having a budget crisis do they say 'gee whiz! then don't pay the bill'?

The republicans contrived this by giving away the tax revenues in the form of tax breaks to business and then complain they haven't got any money!

The only thing the governor and republican legislators are trying to do is steal the pensions and health care of hundreds of thousands of state employees who worked for those pensions and that healthcare.

Posted by: treefrog2 | February 19, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm always amazed at the way Republicans view the world.

Take for instance an E-3 (PFC) in the military gets paid around $1,500/month. Yet if he were to take his skills over to Xe Services (Blackwater) he could pull in around $5,000/month to be a mercenary. And they say public sector employees are overpaid!

And yet these snobs will say that if the PFC doesn't like it, he should find himself a new job. Maybe Republicans favor mercenaries.

We all hear from the corporate sector that they need to hire immigrants to fill their positions because they can't find qualified people here in the United States.

If Republicans get their way, be prepared to bring along your Spanish/English translation book the next time you get pulled over by the police; and make sure you run out of your burning house with your checkbook in your hands to pay off the commercial fire department to rescue your cat, Fluffy; and don't trust that nurse in the hospitals who are ready to dispense your medication, because you may not make it out of that coma.

Only a Republican will see this in a positive light!


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | February 19, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if just once someone comparing public to private compensation would also put up a graph showing how many more hours the average private employed worker puts in. The paid vacations, comp time, and paid holidays mean that public employees are far better compensated per hour worked. Add to that, private sector workers invest much more heavily into their own health insurance and retirement benefits.

It's long past time these spoiled prima donnas were confronted.

Posted by: MikeOliver1 | February 19, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, treefrog2. The governor is like the guy who whines that he can't pay more in taxes after buying an Escalade.

The truth of the matter is this: HE and people like him created the problem; now he and his fellow travellers want to solve it on the backs of others.

Great scam, if he can get away with it.
Those of us who truly care about the nation, its people, and its future, can only hope the public servants of Wisconsin don't let him.

Posted by: DrSepp | February 19, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Only sissies need the benefits that the unions have brought to America: the 40 hour/5 day work week, the weekend, a living wage, health insurance, pensions, workplace safety, vacations, an end to child labor, etc. A "real man" (i.e. a Republican conservative) would work for a dollar a day in the sweat shops along side his wife and kids. Hey, what do kids need with education anyway? All they really need to know is how to respect their betters. If the family didn't have company housing, they could sleep out in the field.

Posted by: Jihm | February 19, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

We should also compare productivity of the public sector vs the private sector in relation to their compensation.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 19, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

This is a typical deflect the issues kind of argument. The issue is whether civil service employees have collective bargaining? Clearly, FDR said NO, and many states say no because this isn't about salaries but about benefits that are way beyond the private sector, so your graph is as pointless as the question! Shutting schools down is a simple minded leftwing tactic used so often I'm surprised state and local officials haven't used the tactic of mass firings for job abandonment since civil employees are not permitted to strike! What about the fleebagger dem reps who ran and hid in this 2nd time used tactic developed by the DNC and Chucky Schumer to stall progress! The voters in WI elected Walker to do what he is doing. Busing in union piles from all over the country and having Obama's Organize for America and his own comments only serves to temper the steely resolve of the people of WI to get their house in order and stop bleeding taxpayers dry! But the real issue is, if you lose WI like you lost NJ, OH, CA, NY are next and that means at least $100 million doesn't get into the DNC for the campaign in 2012! That's what worries you!

Posted by: vgailitis | February 19, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

For those who really like statistics, there are 2 studies showing positive compensation for every one that shows negative compensation for the public sector when benefits are included in total compensation. The "deal" to defer compensation was a bad deal for the cities, not the employees. The majority don't pay Social Security or Medicare and have their own programs which on the average are funded 80% by the municipality or state government and 85% by the federal government. If you really want to see if public sector jobs have less value than private sector, eliminate benefit programs, bring them back into Social Security and Medicare, thus eliminating retirement programs that can pay up to 80% of an individual's total compensation at the time they retire.

Posted by: wantingbalance | February 19, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Most of us already understand what you have just shown. This is true throughout the country. Just as Republicans have over the years demonized welfare recipients, people who for what ever reason seek abortions, health care reform, Medicare and Social Security and every thing else they don't like. Unfortunately there are plenty of people more than willing to think the worse about Americans who don't look like them or speak their language. Sad thing is , they discount those that look like them and speak their language and are just as corrupt as many people are.

Posted by: catmomtx | February 19, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

morattico quoted: A Cato Institute study that shows ... "private sector workers in similar positions earned $27.42 for an hour’s work."

Except the study doesn't say "similar positions" because the data it used didn't look at similar positions. It just implies the numbers are comparable.

The source it cites, the U.S. BLS, says of the data:

"Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work activities and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, make up a large part of private industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Management, professional, and administrative support occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local government workforce, compared with two-fifths of private industry."

Posted by: crquimby | February 19, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Now that union membership is not widespread, people easily forget that no union contract gives workers more than management was willing to give in the first place. If union workers are making too much, go after the managers and executives who had a hand in their contracts. They're the real enemy, and unlike union workers, they're usually completely bulletproof. It's actually much easier to get rid of a union member.

Posted by: amstphd | February 19, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Now that union membership is not widespread, people easily forget that no union contract gives workers more than management was willing to give in the first place. If union workers are making too much, go after the managers and executives who had a hand in their contracts. They're the real enemy, and unlike union workers, they're usually completely bulletproof. It's actually much easier to get rid of a union member.

Posted by: amstphd | February 19, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

If they don't like working in the public sector because the pay is "unfair" perhaps they should work elsewhere.


Posted by: Frazil | February 19, 2011 3:47 PM

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

And the same can be said about the private sector. Rather than being jealous and angry because you THINK someone is doing better than you, why don't YOU go to your employer and ask for better pay and benefits. They are certainly making enough profit to do that. Instead, people like you have fallen for the spin that if we make them do that they will take their jobs away or we will be paying more for their products. You people are being used because they have already done that and will continue to do it. Why should a CEO make 400 times than their employee's? Why should these people receive million dollar bonuses? Their employees are the ones doing the jobs! Pretty soon you people won't even be able to afford to buy whatever products you are making. At least in the auto industry they get some bonus. But know, you would rather whine, bi!ch and moan about people who have joined unions to look after their best interest.

Posted by: catmomtx | February 19, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

helloisanyoneoutthere,

"Maybe Republicans favor mercenaries."

Based on the policies that the push for and favor, there's no "maybe" about it.

Part of the irony too with regard to the Tea-Baggers and American history, is that the British themselves favored mercenaries to maintain their colonial territories. All this underscores the fact that Tea-Baggers tend to unwittingly position themselves more as loyalists of the Crown, than a party of proud individuals fighting for a representative democracy.

Of course, if you apply the profit-maximization model to fire delivery, police service, and even education, things always invariably work out great. This is especially true when the police are encouraged to supplement their salaries by robbing ordinary people, or taking bribes.

Posted by: JPRS | February 19, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

My observation is that overall private sector workers work MORE and HARDER hours than public sector employees. Many private sector salary workers work 60-70 hours week,some public sector employees would receive double/triple time pay for working that many hours or would refuse to work.

Public sector employees get a plethora of cushy benefits like accumulated sick days,pto days, etc. that they can cash out at retirement, more pto days, vacation days,holidays(ex.-Monday's President's Day). Private sector jobs are by all indications more stessful.Public employees practically have to commit a felony to lose their job,private employees can be let go almost as easily as they can leave on their own.

I disagree that public employees would be making more money in the private sector, my guess is alot of them would not be able to cut it in the private sector and would make considerably less money.

Posted by: objective11 | February 19, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I have been an employee of the UW-Madison since Nov. 2004. Before coming to Madison, I worked 35 years in the private sector. I started paying into social security when I was 14 years old and financed my own way through undergraduate school and law school. I am second oldest of 9 kids and was raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where there were never any guarantees of a job. I developed a strong work ethic as a result.

I started at UW-Madison in a temporary project appointment doing work that I had been doing for 25 years. I didn’t plan to stay but was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. While being treated, I was offered a full-time "regular" appointment, which included the pension plan offered by the state.

Last year I made $76,000 and took eight furlough days. I received a 1.5% COL raise in 2007 and none since. I have a law degree from the University of Michigan and 35 years of professional work experience. I am 60 years old. I just bought a house - it's 70 years old and needs work. I walk or take the bus to work. I drive an 11 year old car - a civic because it gets good gas mileage. I help support my parents and a sister whose husband is disabled. My only indulgence is buying books. I have always paid my own way and worked hard.

So, how is it that I became the enemy of the taxpayers of this country and the working class?

Posted by: lskont | February 19, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if just once someone comparing public to private compensation would also put up a graph showing how many more hours the average private employed worker puts in.

It's long past time these spoiled prima donnas were confronted.

Posted by: MikeOliver1
****

Confronted at the bargaining table, not confronted in the legislature by denying their freedom of association and their right to bargain.

And if you go back to Klein's article, you will find that there was specifically what you ask for - an attempt to adjust for benefits. They didn't manage to work in hours, but estimated that that cut the private sector premium from 11% to 5%.

Tens of thousands of municipal and state employees are hardly prima donas, and it's rather nasty of you to insult them so.

Posted by: j3hess | February 19, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

An Economic Policy Institute study?

You mean the Economic Policy Institute whose Board of Directors reads like a Who's-Who of Union leaders? The leaders of SEIU; UAW; AFL/CIO; American Federation of Teachers?

That Economic Policy Institute?

Yep - real unbiased source, there...

Posted by: SAT1 | February 19, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

You would think that Mr. Klein might think it relevant to report that the Economic Policy Institute is an openly partisan organization. Among its Board of Directors are leading figures in the following labor unions: SEIU, CWA, USWA, UAW and the AFSCME. What sort of "reporting" is this? Does the WP have any editorial standards at all? Journalism 101 requires a reporter to disclose any potential biases concerning the sources they rely on. It's up to the reader to decide whether the cited study is flawed or skewed, but the reader is entitled to know all the facts in order to make that decision.

Posted by: wotan1066 | February 19, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Some more meaningful questions might be along the following lines. If public employee wages are cut, will they look for different jobs? If numbers of employees are cut, what services will be lost? What services are tax payers willing to pay for? Private employers have had to face these questions over the last decade. Many went bankrupt. Many others cut jobs. Almost all did away with defined benefit pension programs. Public employees have mostly avoided facing these unpleasant realities. It appears likely their time has come.

Posted by: dnjake | February 19, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein is ridiculous. He wouldn't make the staff of most junior high school papers on honesty and integrity alone, let alone quality (or lack thereof) of content.

Posted by: hz9604 | February 19, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if just once someone comparing public to private compensation would also put up a graph showing how many more hours the average private employed worker puts in. The paid vacations, comp time, and paid holidays mean that public employees are far better compensated per hour worked. Add to that, private sector workers invest much more heavily into their own health insurance and retirement benefits.

It's long past time these spoiled prima donnas were confronted.

Posted by: MikeOliver1 | February 19, 2011 4:36 PM |
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Oh for goodness sakes. Many DO NOT GET OVERTIME!!!

Depending on where you live, Houston for instance if you work for the city you get NO overtime. City employees are having to take a mandatory six (6) day furlough. That is six days without pay.

If a hurricane hits all bets are off. City employees MUST report to work regardless of what damage they sustained. Certain departments are on call 24/7. you may be assigned a job that is totally foreign to you. You are responsible for getting your own gas. If it is bad enough like Hurricane IKE the city will give you $5.00 worth of gas. You are in crisis mode until otherwise notified.

Now I will say they will make it as easy as they can for city employees to access whatever services they need including child care. But if you have ever been in a hurricane, you have no idea.

It is city and state employees doing what they can to help their fellow citizens in a time of disaster. It is city, state and federal employees that help their fellow citizens navigate the various services. And it is always people around who are disgruntled and rude eagerly reminding city, state and federal employees that they pay you salary so public employees HAVE to take what ever bs that is dished out. Bs like calling people in Wisconsin every negative name under the sun because they are exercising the same rights as tea party people did in protesting health care reform.

Posted by: catmomtx | February 19, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

When do the Top 2% income earners begin sacrificing??
Oh no! Republicans say billionaires should not be expected to sacrifice - but the worker bees should work MORE years before receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits!

Gotta be a fool or a billionaire to vote Republican.

Posted by: angie12106 | February 19, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The obvious answer is that public sector employees WILL vote with their feet. Not the senior ones who will simply retire, but the younger ones will leave. And don't forget; you get what you pay for....if you want bottom 10% engineers instead of top 10% just offer them much less than the private sector.

The nation as a whole voted for Obama on the basis of Anyone But Bush...and rightly so.

However, the devil is in the details....now you gotta dance with the one that brung ya!!

As long as we tolerate useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we deserve every bit of the deficit and budget cuts we're forcing our elected reps to do.

Posted by: joy5 | February 19, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

One factor left out of the debate so far is that public sector unions and traditional labor unions set the standard by which everyone else’s wages and benefits are set. If the Republicans are successful in busting the unions in Wisconsin, then non-union, private employers will match the public cut backs either by decreasing salaries or eliminating any remaining benefits they offer. We already see this with many employers relying on temporary workers – who toil for far less money and for no benefits – and the demands for continued productivity improvements (i.e., requiring workers to do twice the work for half as much money). Those teachers, cops and firefighters who are now protesting in Wisconsin are not just fighting for their rights, but for the rights of all workers. And, those knuckleheads who attack the protesters are attacking all workers.

Posted by: codexjust1 | February 19, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"Wisconsin public-sector workers face an annual compensation penalty of 11%. Adjusting for the slightly fewer hours worked per week on average, these public workers still face a compensation penalty of 5% for choosing to work in the public sector."

So the New York Times chart showing the Wisconsin state median wage as higher for public sector workers without a bachelor's degree is wrong because it didn't control "for experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship and disability"?

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/02/19/us/19union_graphic.html?ref=us

I'm not sure I buy the EPI study. I'd be interested to hear how you would square that with the New York Times report.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 19, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

For those who really like statistics, there are 2 studies showing positive compensation for every one that shows negative compensation for the public sector when benefits are included in total compensation
***

It's not the number of studies that counts, it's their quality. I practice statistics on a regular basis, by the way.

Since the 1970s the right has sponsored numerous "think tanks" dedicated to putting out studies that support their political goals. If you dissent, you're out in the cold - ask David Frum. The studies coming out of these places, in my experience, make selective use of the data, introducing biases that will be missed by someone who just reads the conclusion. In other words, the studies are, statistically speaking, cr@p.

And if you've any specific study in mind, I'll happily review it for you.

Posted by: j3hess | February 19, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The labor unions affected by Walker's proposal have agreed to increase health insurance and pension contributions as Walker had demanded. In exchange, the union wants to retain bargaining rights. Walker refused to negotiate.

Wisconsin state employees are in the second year of a 3.065% wage reduction, accomplished by taking furlough days. Union leaders agreed to do that to help the state out of its previous financial predicament. Walker knew he could get the contributions if he asked but he would not do so.

This issue is not about saving money, it's about destroying a political constituency.

Posted by: OhBrother3 | February 19, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Some of ya'll need to read some background before you comment--but that would be like thinking before you talk.

Under the previous governor, the Wisconsin public unions offered over $100 million in concessions to the state to help balance the budget. This offer was rejected by the GOP in the legislature at the request of candidate Walker. Even now, one of the largest unions has taken money off the table by offering upfront the health insurance and retirement contributions Walker is asking for if Walker agrees to take out the draconian end to collective bargaining provisions. Walker was smoked out of his "budget-solving" myth when he rejected even that offer.

Taxpayers keep some of their taxes due to the nationwide attack on teachers, policemen, firemen, and other public servants, but as those jobs leave the economy, it is certainly not going to help their local economies or their pocketbooks. Government workers also buy groceries, pay rent, and patronize their local merchants.

This is not what you need when you're climbing out of the deepest recession since the Big One.

Posted by: gingles | February 19, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

So the New York Times chart showing the Wisconsin state median wage as higher for public sector workers without a bachelor's degree is wrong because it didn't control "for experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship and disability"?

I'm not sure I buy the EPI study. I'd be interested to hear how you would square that with the New York Times report.
Posted by: jnc4
***

By making sure both are controlled for factors that are associated with differences in wages.

For instance, if the average public sector worker without a bachelor's degree has 17 years on the job, and it's 12 for the private sector, that can make the state compensation seem higher even if it is lower for workers of equivalent experience and skills.

Posted by: j3hess | February 19, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

This is nonsense. That chart doesn't include total compensation. The private workers don't get guaranteed pensions for life when they retire at the absurd age of 50. And teaching is a part-time job! They have a 6-hour work day and get the summer off. If you calculate their pay on an hourly basis, they're paid about 20% more than a comparable private sector job. And that still doesn't account for their lavish benefits.

Teachers and other government workers are radically overpaid for very little in return. If our public schools were doing a great job, they might have an argument for being overpaid. But our schools suck.

Even your boy President sends his kids to private schools. Why? Because the public schools are cesspools. They'd need armed guards for his kids at those DC schools.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | February 19, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

they need to control for degree content. a ba in art is likely to be compensated less than a bs in petroleum engineering; much of the public sector is laden with liberal arts generalists with sub-specific masters like i was with a ba in history and and mpa. i was paid a heck of a lot less then my wife with a 5 year pharmacy degree and deservedly so. when i earned an mba concentrating in finance and it management i was able to bridge the gap easily by going to the private sector and giving up my defined pension benefit for the opportunity for achievement and accomplishment to be immediately recognized and compensated and have not looked back.

Posted by: george32 | February 19, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I've only lived in VA and SC as an adult, but my impression of public employees of one of lethargy and no sense of "customer service". Whether it's the DMV, labor boards, tax offices or whatever, they act as if they have no interest in doing their job well, with optimism and enthusiasm, instead acting like they are doing you (the consumer and tax payer) a favor by showing up. Let them face competition for their job without guaranteed benefits and union perks. Let them find out how the rest of us work on the outside, maybe their attitude and the public's perception of them as a workforce will change.

Posted by: bojarvis | February 19, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add; Walker's proposal would mean that state workers could only get a raise equal to inflation. anything above that would have to be approved by a referendum.

So each worker would effectively never get a raise again.

How many private secotr workers would agree to that?

BTW: I am not a union worker. I have been in 2 unions and defeated one unionization effort. Taking away collective bargaining rights is unnecessary.

Posted by: OhBrother3 | February 19, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add; Walker's proposal would mean that state workers could only get a raise equal to inflation. Anything above that would have to be approved by a referendum.

So each worker would effectively never get a raise again.

How many private sector workers would agree to that?

Remember that these workers pay taxes like everyone else.

Taking away collective bargaining rights is unnecessary in the process of balancing the budget.

Posted by: OhBrother3 | February 19, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"Wisconsin public-sector workers face an annual compensation penalty of 11%. Adjusting for the slightly fewer hours worked per week on average, these public workers still face a compensation penalty of 5% for choosing to work in the public sector."

Okay then. Let's just privatize most of these services, and that way these workers won't have to worry about being underpaid relative to their private sector peers. Deal?

Posted by: justin84 | February 19, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

overpaid?.....maybe/maybe not

overcompensated?....compared to the rest of the working class/private sector? Absolutely.

You must factor in the retirement plans, health ins., vacation, sick leave etc.....

These dried up YEARS ago in the private sector....the 'cash cow' has withered away folks, you killed it. Thank you very much from the rest of us.

Posted by: arioch666 | February 19, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"Whether it's the DMV--"

Just a suggestion: if you're going to trot out that old chestnut, nobody's going to take you seriously, because it's admitting your own ignorant belief that state employment begins and ends at the customer service counter.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | February 19, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"they need to control for degree content. a ba in art is likely to be compensated less than a bs in petroleum engineering; much of the public sector is laden with liberal arts generalists with sub-specific masters like i was with a ba in history and and mpa. i was paid a heck of a lot less then my wife with a 5 year pharmacy degree and deservedly so. when i earned an mba concentrating in finance and it management i was able to bridge the gap easily by going to the private sector and giving up my defined pension benefit for the opportunity for achievement and accomplishment to be immediately recognized and compensated and have not looked back.

Posted by: george32"

-----------------------------------------

Excellent post Sir.

Posted by: arioch666 | February 19, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, the study is interesting, but the Economic Policy Institute is not an arms length observer here. I am certain that given other assumptions the charts will differ the other way.

First the study should between the same profession. So public teachers with private teachers. You know where I am going with this.

The fact remains no matter the pay level, private employees must pay a greater share for health care and retirement. This must change if Wisconsin is to afford to pay for education in their state.

You also miss the point that the argument is not with the pay but with how retirement and health care are paid.

Posted by: CvilleBoy | February 19, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans say that public-sector employees have become a privileged class that overburdened taxpayers,"

Now Republicans are breaking public and private workers into classes eh?

And saying public workers are paid to much because the make more then the private sector, isn't that Socialism?

A stale bag of Libertarian favored leavings seeped in an evaporating puddle of Republican secretions is the recipe for the elixir being marketed by TEA Party Pirates from the backend of a Trojan Horse. Served with Limbaugh Cheese and Fox Droppings will produce a foul gas and fungus among us requiring a Liberal dosage of the United States Constitution to clear the air and eradicate the malfeasant spores.

Posted by: johnfranklinmasonyahoocom | February 19, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"Remember that these workers pay taxes like everyone else."

And where do you think these workers get income from to pay their taxes?

Posted by: justin84 | February 19, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Jamie Dimon (a republican, I believe,
who works in the private sector) just recently received a $17,000,000 bonus for his performance for the past three months.

I am sure that he earned every penny, after all, its getting harder and harder to find new legal ways to steal from people, since we all seem to have less and less money, for some reason ...

Posted by: menelyik | February 19, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans say that public-sector employees have become a privileged class that overburdened taxpayers,"

Now Republicans are breaking public and private workers into classes eh?

And saying public workers are paid to much because the make more then the private sector, isn't that Socialism?

A stale bag of Libertarian favored leavings seeped in an evaporating puddle of Republican secretions is the recipe for the elixir being marketed by TEA Party Pirates from the backend of a Trojan Horse. Served with Limbaugh Cheese and Fox Droppings will produce a foul gas and fungus among us requiring a Liberal dosage of the United States Constitution to clear the air and eradicate the malfeasant spores.

Posted by: johnfranklinmasonyahoocom | February 19, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Jamie Dimon (a republican, I believe,
who works in the private sector) just recently received a $17,000,000 bonus for his performance for the past three months.

I am sure that he earned every penny, after all, its getting harder and harder to find new legal ways to steal from people, since we all seem to have less and less money, for some reason ...

Posted by: menelyik | February 19, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

------------------------

While I agree it seems like a lot. JP Morgan Chase's stock has risen over 29% in the past 6 months, making $700M. I'm not rich, but it helped me.

Abert Albert Pujols wants $300M to play baseball and the only person who will profit (possibly) will be the owner of the team that signs him.


Posted by: bal503 | February 19, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

But you're missing an important variable. Some people will accept lower wages for greater stability. So yes, some make a conscious decision to trade income for stability. What's unfair is that now you want to renege on that deal.


Posted by: Frazil | February 19, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

-------------
As private sector employee who worked for a company that went thru chapter 11, NOT EVERYONE HAS THAT KIND OF CHOICE AT A JOB. Though I survived, I could have made MY OWN CHOICE and look to work elsewhere.

Posted by: bal503 | February 19, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse


None is this nonsense about what E-3's are paid and what Blackwater is hiring has anything to do with Wisconsin civil servants being overpaid, teachers in particular.

What sort of facile person thinks Blackwater is hiring E-3's anyway? Preposterous. Ex-Navy SEALS, maybe, a Chief not a Seaman.


Posted by: screwjob23 | February 19, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

For years, the only way the college educated in major corporations received raises was due to the side effects of union wage increases. This was particularly true in the explosive inflation of the '70's and early '80's. Unions helped the middle class. In Bush's ownership society, owners win and labor loses.

But that was then and those were non-public employee unions. Now public employees, particularly federal are on a gravy train with tenure. Their jobs don't get shipped overseas. Their benefits never get cut to meet eps. Raises are automatic COLA plus step adjustments. No one ever gets fired for screwing up at the SEC, CFTC, FDIC, DOJ, DOD, Federal Reserve, you can name any agency.

Then you come across a former SS agent about 50 years old bragging he gets to double dip a pension since transferring to the TSA. Laughing about the fact he never has to go into work and can do his job blindfolded for 150K per year with 5 weeks vacation, sick leave and a government car that sits in the driveway all day. Then you realize the TSA became a dumping ground for all the folks they wanted to get rid of at other federal security agencies.

Then there's the local county commissioner that can retire at 90% of pay and is having taxpayer paid for buildings named after him. It never stops. Sorta like Bush in competition with MLK to rename every street in America.

But the best part is trying to apply for a government federal job. Hundreds of pages of baloney then the final kicker - must have worked for a federal agency -. And that's why folks feel they way they do.

That is why people losing their jobs are upset. Used to be people hated just lawyers. After this recession, bankers and public employees are at the top of the least admired list.

Suggest they wake up. Better yet, if they think they are on the right side of this issue, put it to a voter referendum an see what happens next. LOL

Posted by: wesatch | February 19, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

"Suggest they wake up."

Suggest you stop seeking out scapegoats.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | February 19, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

j3hess,

The EPI receives a third of their budget from unions, operates a research network dedicated to global union concerns, and regularly issue reports in support of union issues. They are hardly non-partisan on this issue.

Posted by: cprferry | February 19, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

There's many flaws in this report, but here's the two biggest:

1) First, its irrelevant what workers are being paid in the sense that the state only has so many dollars. The real question is, does every get their wages cut? Or who will be laid off?

2) More importantly, people have traditionally gone into government jobs not for pay equality; rather it was considered a job that they could have from the time they were twenty to sixty-five and then they would retire with a nice pension.

So now, they accepted a job with less hours and less pay, balanced out by far better job security and good pension.

The study is also hogwash in the sense that the overhead of a government worker is greater than a private employee. Why? Typically private employees pay a couple hundred a month for health care insurance, and there is no pension, rather there is a 401K plan only (typically with no match).

So the entire report is BS in terms of its assumptions and conclusions. If you would step back and just think about what they said, take off your partisan blinders, you'd see I'm correct.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 19, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

"Fair is fair - you want to screw public employees - then tax the plutocrats - no $4T giveaway"

Perhaps you aren't paying attention to the news. When states raise taxes on actual wealthy people (you know, the people who make $10M/year), they move out, leaving the state with significantly less revenue in the end for the state as these people move to states with little or no income tax.

If you want to raise taxes, you raise them across the board. If one person feels the pain, everybody does.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 19, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"Fair is fair - you want to screw public employees - then tax the plutocrats - no $4T giveaway"

Perhaps you aren't paying attention to the news. When states raise taxes on actual wealthy people (you know, the people who make $10M/year), they move out, leaving the state with significantly less revenue in the end for the state as these people move to states with little or no income tax.

If you want to raise taxes, you raise them across the board. If one person feels the pain, everybody does.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 19, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Where are the jobs ? Repubs promised job creation would be job one and no one's home on this issue. Let's cut the Federal workforce and 40 percent of the budget and at the same time we'll see millions of jobs disappear. How again is this going to work ? The next magic trick in 2012 will be blaming Abama and the Dems for the loss of jobs and the economy going back in the --apper. In Wisconsin, the same old story. Cut 100s of millions in revenue and then blame the public workers for the shortfall. Wake up America.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | February 19, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"Take for instance an E-3 (PFC) in the military gets paid around $1,500/month. Yet if he were to take his skills over to Xe Services (Blackwater) he could pull in around $5,000/month to be a mercenary. "

Apples and Oranges my ignorant friend.

A mercenary, is going to be an independent contractor, or perhaps a 1099, which implies that $5K/month is the total loaded cost of that employee.

Which means, no benefits, no pension, no nothing.

Plus, by definition, a mercenary is always going to end up in a dangerous position 24 hours a day. You don't hire mercenaries to parade around the camp ground.

And by the way, high-tech security firms aren't hiring PFC grunts. They're hiring special-ops guys, SEALS, Rangers, Airborne.

So think before you talk. Do some research.

If the $5K/month was such a great deal, you'd have every soldier getting out as quick as he could and grabbing the job. But that doesn't happen. Ask yourself why.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 19, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

" If union workers are making too much, go after the managers and executives who had a hand in their contracts. They're the real enemy, "

Well, those Managers were, by and large, Democratic representatives. So the voters stepped in, fired them, and the new managers are cutting the benefits.

So everything is happening the way you suggest.

Where is the argument?

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 19, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

The average private sector JD in Wisconsin makes $225K with benefits? If so, that's got to be the highest in the nation. That's far more than in the D.C. area where hordes of lawyers are laboring away on contract work at $30 an hour, many lawyers are unemployed, and small firm attorneys are mostly making a lot, lot less than 225K. If that number were true, armies of lawyers would be descending on Wisconsin to work.

Posted by: GDoumar | February 19, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

This perspective of government workers making less than the private sector had traction up to about 5-10 years ago, but then when the system began crashing, then the public sector caught up and took over. Now, they are ahead in income and benefits, especially benefits, as a whole, and yet without taxpayer income, they have nothing. But, isn't sacrifice when times are lean about EVERYONE playing a role to minimize pain? And yet, what is the catchphrase of government workers as a whole, state or federal? "You owe me, and I don't care if it ruins your system, as long as I get what I want!"

This is the lack of insight and judgment that not only diminishes and deteriorates, it sets up conflict that will only grow exponentially between the alleged haves and have nots. And to tell people who are already going down and out that they need to go down further while others benefit, isn't that asking for serious retribution?

Yes, this was the attitude of the private sector for years, no, decades, regarding "I have it good, tough for you", but at least there was some level of choice for those paying those private salaries by choosing to participate in the product or service the private sector was offering.

Not the case with public salaries, unless, we cut services by government? Think what is going on now is being challenged by the public sector? Ask Camden police and fire department employees what they think after they called the bluff of Camden government in not negotiating with salary and benefit packages! Hey folks, what is going on in Wisconsin is mob mentality, and it will get uglier unless people step back and think this through more responsibly. Budgets are finite, as is life. If this simple fact is disputed, well, see what happens when people lose touch with reality.

God forbid we have another Loughner moment!

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | February 19, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

WOW. a group which has all union members on it's board of directors thinks unions are underpaid. What a shock.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 19, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse


Yeap. In fact, did you know that Currently, many insurance companies do not allow adult children to remain on their parents' plan once they reach 19. Companies cannot do that any more. Search onilne for "Wise Health Insurance" and you can insure your kids if you are in the same boat.

Posted by: parkesrevan | February 20, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Well, those Managers were, by and large, Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 19, 2011 9:41 PM |
Democratic representatives. So the voters stepped in, fired them, and the new managers are cutting the benefits.
So everything is happening the way you suggest.
Where is the argument?
___________________________________________
If legislative bodies negotiate collective bargaining agreements, it's news to me. They pretty much just approve or disapprove.

There is a huge difference between furloughs, which the union I belong to accepted last year, and taking away a group's right to organize, which is what is happening in Wisconsin.

Posted by: amstphd | February 20, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein has gotten so far to the left his commentary is increasingly risible. Even Cuomo and Brown are trying to rein in exhorbitant pension payments and state employee health costs.

Posted by: jibe | February 20, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I would like to disagree with Mr. Klein's comparison--he seems to believe that it is fair to compare salaries based on "college degrees" without specifying a field for the degree. This means that the salary for someone with a Master's Degree in Education should be compared to an MBA salary, for instance.

I will ask a question: We know that teachers in private schools earn less than their public school counterparts and have no pension or medical benefits from their school when they retire--why not compare only similar groups and decide whether the public sector salaries are "fair?"

Allow me to give my answer to this question: Mr. Klein is not trying to show what is really happening in many states, including Wisconsin, he simply wants to continue to believe in a "bottomless cookie jar" approach to government spending that is not sustainable.

Posted by: Andrew44 | February 20, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

don't like governor walker's position on the economy?

well, illinois is a poster child as to what's in store for you. the city of chicago, home of your leader obama, now has its lowest population since 1920 and will fall from 2nd place to 3rd shortly. plus they don't have a computer (watson) with enough processing power to add up how much they really owe.

i guess interstate moving vans may be a good investment.

Posted by: ezduzit | February 20, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Private sector teaching jobs pay much less than comparable public sector teaching jobs, whether it be elementary school, high school or college.

Members of unions seem to think that no matter what happens in the economy, they should continue to make ever more in pay and benefits. Detroit has 25% unemployment because unions negotiated themselves into competitive disadvantage vis a' vis auto workers in other countries.

In exchange for ever increasing pay, WE (their employers) get ever diminishing returns from teachers. My kids were taught material in 10th grade that I was taught in 5th grade. We have a right to expect them to teach our children rather than use their job for social engineering and political indoctrination; and to teach values rather than no values (which is a value). For more than a decade they have been grading the SAT's on a curve because today's students fail to perform as well as their predecessors. Obviously, that is because of increasingly poor teaching.

If everyone else must tighten their belts, including the employers of these people, then so must they. Perhaps they would prefer to join the 22% of Americans who have no job, and have spent a year or two trying to get someone to hire them; in the process losing their home and all of their net worth.

Posted by: scoutonymous | February 20, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please. The Economic Policy Institute is a FAR left wing fringe propaganda organization. Using them as a reference shows that you are unwilling to look at things objectively.

Posted by: jkhamlin | February 20, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I have seen other studies that suggest that unionized public employees are better compensated than private sector employees.
Does this mean that public employees are overpaid, or should we consider the possibility that private sector employees are being victimized by low wages? The percentage of the US workforce that is unionized has fallen dramatically while the percentage of income received by the top 1% has risen from 9% to 24% since the 1970's. Anybody see a correlation here?
The propoganda war conducted by corporate owned media against unions continues. Wake the heck up, folks. It's the elite that are robbing you, not your fellow workers.

Posted by: billring99 | February 20, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Public sector salary figures do not take into account their Cadillac health plans and guaranteed retirement benefits. I have less job security. I have to save for my own retirement and all but pay for my own health care.

Posted by: zrzzzz | February 20, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

We should just give Republicans everything they want: Repeal "ObamaCare", repeal Social Security, repeal Medicare, repeal the Minimum Wage, outlaw all unions, close the EPA, repeal all amendments to the Constitution (except the 2nd), reduce business taxes to zero, eliminate the Estate tax, create a national sales tax on food and energy, double military spending, privatize all police, all schools, all roads, all prisons...heck, privatize everything.
Then, let the country percolate for a few years and see how things work out.

Posted by: DrDubious | February 20, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Everyone I know of who has a private-sector job has had one or two 10% pay-cuts in the last three years, and a decrease in their employer's 401-K contribution.
Also, based on my 23 years' experience in the private sector, the biggest challenge private enterprise has is sales volume and pricing. Public sector entities have neither of these problems. Every gov't bureau is raising fees for driver licenses, car tags, document stamps, filing fees, with impunity. At the same time, private enterprise is cutting prices to keep business.
I live in a town with a public utility. Due to the recession and THEIR Conservation Program, water usage went down. So, the Town Council raised the water rates, because "the money has to come from somewhere".

Posted by: sampjack | February 20, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr. Klein. There is truth in numbers. I suspect that many Americans are afraid to stand up for decent wages, and decent working men and women for fear that they will endanger their own livlihoods. The middle class workforce did not create the current fiscal condition. But we dare not speak the numbers of the plutocracy, or the numbers of political contributions made. Nor shall we speak of the numbers associated with deregulating Wall Steet and the Bankers - for it is them that endangered pensions and state economies. It's a hard road that we can only blame those on the bottom of the pecking order; and have them fight for the crumbs falling from the table of opulence.

Posted by: Tourist | February 20, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Mitch Daniels ended collective bargaining when he became Gov. of Indiana 6 yrs ago. The State now has the lowest property taxes and public worker per capita in the Nation. Wake up America.

Posted by: wxyz6200 | February 20, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

So when all is said and done, the study seemed to conclude that Wisconsin public workers earned 5% less than their private-sector counterparts. This is probably a fair trade for their relative job security. Therefore, there really doesn't seem to be a justification for either raising or lowering their pay.

Posted by: brickcha | February 20, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I want to laugh when I hear how Federal employees are supposed to have it so much better than Private Sector employees. More so, that Federal employees can't be fired, and are in no danger of job losses. The only thing that the Federal Government offered for so many years, was stability in healthcare, salary, and pension benefits. Everyone knew that if you wanted to make any real money, you got a job in the Private Sector. Until now, and is still the case in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, Private Concern paid and pays more than the Federal Government. The latter increased its pay scales to attract people away from the Private Sector, and just to stay competitive with it. And, for those of you who defintely don't know anything about the Federal Government, it is now under a process of elimination of Federal workers by hook or crook, thanks in great part to policies set into place by former Republican politicians and presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan. The use of "Performance" based job evaluations-not guaranteed GS-step pay scales, the hiring of contractors to take away from the Federal workforce- no need to pay them (contractors) health benefits, pensions, etc., and holiday pay and they can be fired at will--the unfair use of the "PIP," to remove older, more experienced, but higher paid workers from government jobs after they've given many years of service, thereby destroying their prospects for pensions, the creation of "Federal" agencies under the second Bush administration, that have little or no BUE/Bargaining Unit Employee/Union representation to protect federal jobs, (can you say TSA?) etc., are all just some of the things being enacted against Federal employees to reduce their workforce, and to destroy the federal government. Done mainly by the "Federal" employees of the party opposing the President and the Democrats. These people will give freely to the wealthy, cutting their taxes, deregulating policies put in place to protect the American people, and their jobs, while playing the divide and conquer game--turning the Private Sector employees, unemployed Americans, and Federal employees against one another. If anything, the Private Sector is suffering now because it does not have policies, BUE's/Unions, etc., to protect jobs, as compared to the Federal government. Thanks, again, in great part to the Republicans who support the capitalists who are shipping Private Sector jobs overseas, while Americans go jobless. They get their bonuses, you get the pink slip. Nevertheless, if the opposing political party gets its way, the federal workforce will go the way of the Private Sector-down. What will be the end result? Break the back of the federal workforce, which is still largely unionized, then they will break the backbone of the Democratic electorate--union based employees. Employees who support the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Layla7337 | February 20, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I want to laugh when I hear how Federal employees are supposed to have it so much better than Private Sector employees. More so, that Federal employees can't be fired, and are in no danger of job losses. The only thing that the Federal Government offered for so many years, was stability in healthcare, salary, and pension benefits. Everyone knew that if you wanted to make any real money, you got a job in the Private Sector. Until now, and is still the case in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, Private Concern paid and pays more than the Federal Government. The latter increased its pay scales to attract people away from the Private Sector, and just to stay competitive with it. And, for those of you who defintely don't know anything about the Federal Government, it is now under a process of elimination of Federal workers by hook or crook, thanks in great part to policies set into place by former Republican politicians and presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan. The use of "Performance" based job evaluations-not guaranteed GS-step pay scales, the hiring of contractors to take away from the Federal workforce- no need to pay them (contractors) health benefits, pensions, etc., and holiday pay and they can be fired at will--the unfair use of the "PIP," to remove older, more experienced, but higher paid workers from government jobs after they've given many years of service, thereby destroying their prospects for pensions, the creation of "Federal" agencies under the second Bush administration, that have little or no BUE/Bargaining Unit Employee/Union representation to protect federal jobs, (can you say TSA?) etc., are all just some of the things being enacted against Federal employees to reduce their workforce, and to destroy the federal government. Done mainly by the "Federal" employees of the party opposing the President and the Democrats. These people will give freely to the wealthy, cutting their taxes, deregulating policies put in place to protect the American people, and their jobs, while playing the divide and conquer game--turning the Private Sector employees, unemployed Americans, and Federal employees against one another. If anything, the Private Sector is suffering now because it does not have policies, BUE's/Unions, etc., to protect jobs, as compared to the Federal government. Thanks, again, in great part to the Republicans who support the capitalists who are shipping Private Sector jobs overseas, while Americans go jobless. They get their bonuses, you get the pink slip. Nevertheless, if the opposing political party gets its way, the federal workforce will go the way of the Private Sector-down. What will be the end result? Break the back of the federal workforce, which is still largely unionized, then they will break the backbone of the Democratic electorate--union based employees. Employees who support the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Layla7337 | February 20, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I want to laugh when I hear how Federal employees are supposed to have it so much better than Private Sector employees. More so, that Federal employees can't be fired, and are in no danger of job losses. The only thing that the Federal Government offered for so many years, was stability in healthcare, salary, and pension benefits. Everyone knew that if you wanted to make any real money, you got a job in the Private Sector. Until now, and is still the case in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, Private Concern paid and pays more than the Federal Government. The latter increased its pay scales to attract people away from the Private Sector, and just to stay competitive with it. And, for those of you who defintely don't know anything about the Federal Government, it is now under a process of elimination of Federal workers by hook or crook, thanks in great part to policies set into place by former Republican politicians and presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan. The use of "Performance" based job evaluations-not guaranteed GS-step pay scales, the hiring of contractors to take away from the Federal workforce- no need to pay them (contractors) health benefits, pensions, etc., and holiday pay and they can be fired at will--the unfair use of the "PIP," to remove older, more experienced, but higher paid workers from government jobs after they've given many years of service, thereby destroying their prospects for pensions, the creation of "Federal" agencies under the second Bush administration, that have little or no BUE/Bargaining Unit Employee/Union representation to protect federal jobs, (can you say TSA?) etc., are all just some of the things being enacted against Federal employees to reduce their workforce, and to destroy the federal government. Done mainly by the "Federal" employees of the party opposing the President and the Democrats. These people will give freely to the wealthy, cutting their taxes, deregulating policies put in place to protect the American people, and their jobs, while playing the divide and conquer game--turning the Private Sector employees, unemployed Americans, and Federal employees against one another. If anything, the Private Sector is suffering now because it does not have policies, BUE's/Unions, etc., to protect jobs, as compared to the Federal government. Thanks, again, in great part to the Republicans who support the capitalists who are shipping Private Sector jobs overseas, while Americans go jobless. They get their bonuses, you get the pink slip. Nevertheless, if the opposing political party gets its way, the federal workforce will go the way of the Private Sector-down. What will be the end result? Break the back of the federal workforce, which is still largely unionized, then they will break the backbone of the Democratic electorate--union based employees. Employees who support the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Layla7337 | February 20, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

When I attended a small town Wisconsin public school, in the 1960's-1970's, the front office staff consisted of "the secretary", the principal and a school counselor... If the phone rang the secretary answered it, if a "nurse" was needed, the secretary handed out a bandage. She did everything, before computers she was the school's book keeper and had a big hand in setting up the student's schedules. Now, when I walk into my children's school office's, there are routinely 6-7 people doing what that one woman used to do when I was a child and they all probably make much more than our school "secretary" did.
When I was a kid, the teachers were pretty much in school for every school day... now they seem to have all sorts of time off during which my children endure substitute teachers who generally just baby sit the class. I may be wrong, but it sure seems like there are a lot less "days of instruction" than there used to be. We get lots of half days designed to meet the state guideline for "days of instruction" without actually going to the trouble of a full day's teaching. I noticed in Ezra's source material that 1100 hours was considered "full-time" I'll bet that when you take out summer, all the national holidays, all the school vacations, all the contractual personal time and sick days and than multiply the remaining 7 hour work days that you are hard pressed to find the school staff clocking in for 1100 hours.
Another issue with the study Ezra is quoting is the idea that a teaching degree and an electrical engineering degree are comparable... I don't think that such a comparision is justified.
And one last issue is that the numbers seem to be up to 5 years old and in the months and years since the 2005 and 2009 studies the pay differential has done nothing but dramatically increase.
Our local city employees get caught sleeping on the job all of the time, they never get fired... I think that private industry employees just don't get long stretches of time with nothing to do where sleeping on th3e job would become an option.
I also find it just downright creepy that some old line union boss, with three or four seperate pensions, a variety of paychecks simultaneously coming in from different union titles (national, regional and local paychecks) can just call up his creatures in the state senate and send them out of town and then, call the Governor of the State of Wisconsin and offer to negotiate a deal.
I'd wager that he and his cohort of union bosses are tapping the teachers of wisconsin and the state of wisconsin public workers for near $20 million a month in dues... Ezra, you and I both know that those folks would love a chance to not send $70-$100/month to marty Beil and Mary Bell. They can't say so publically or they will be punished but given the chance to keep their "dues" I bet that a strong majority would do just that.
S

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | February 20, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

When I attended a small town Wisconsin public school, in the 1960's-1970's, the front office staff consisted of "the secretary", the principal and a school counselor... If the phone rang the secretary answered it, if a "nurse" was needed, the secretary handed out a bandage. She did everything, before computers she was the school's book keeper and had a big hand in setting up the student's schedules. Now, when I walk into my children's school office's, there are routinely 6-7 people doing what that one woman used to do when I was a child and they all probably make much more than our school "secretary" did.
When I was a kid, the teachers were pretty much in school for every school day... now they seem to have all sorts of time off during which my children endure substitute teachers who generally just baby sit the class. I may be wrong, but it sure seems like there are a lot less "days of instruction" than there used to be. We get lots of half days designed to meet the state guideline for "days of instruction" without actually going to the trouble of a full day's teaching. I noticed in Ezra's source material that 1100 hours was considered "full-time" I'll bet that when you take out summer, all the national holidays, all the school vacations, all the contractual personal time and sick days and than multiply the remaining 7 hour work days that you are hard pressed to find the school staff clocking in for 1100 hours.
Another issue with the study Ezra is quoting is the idea that a teaching degree and an electrical engineering degree are comparable... I don't think that such a comparision is justified.
And one last issue is that the numbers seem to be up to 5 years old and in the months and years since the 2005 and 2009 studies the pay differential has done nothing but dramatically increase.
Our local city employees get caught sleeping on the job all of the time, they never get fired... I think that private industry employees just don't get long stretches of time with nothing to do where sleeping on th3e job would become an option.
I also find it just downright creepy that some old line union boss, with three or four seperate pensions, a variety of paychecks simultaneously coming in from different union titles (national, regional and local paychecks) can just call up his creatures in the state senate and send them out of town and then, call the Governor of the State of Wisconsin and offer to negotiate a deal.
I'd wager that he and his cohort of union bosses are tapping the teachers of wisconsin and the state of wisconsin public workers for near $20 million a month in dues... Ezra, you and I both know that those folks would love a chance to not send $70-$100/month to marty Beil and Mary Bell. They can't say so publically or they will be punished but given the chance to keep their "dues" I bet that a strong majority would do just that.
S

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | February 20, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

When I attended a small town Wisconsin public school, in the 1960's-1970's, the front office staff consisted of "the secretary", the principal and a school counselor... If the phone rang the secretary answered it, if a "nurse" was needed, the secretary handed out a bandage. She did everything, before computers she was the school's book keeper and had a big hand in setting up the student's schedules. Now, when I walk into my children's school office's, there are routinely 6-7 people doing what that one woman used to do when I was a child and they all probably make much more than our school "secretary" did.
When I was a kid, the teachers were pretty much in school for every school day... now they seem to have all sorts of time off during which my children endure substitute teachers who generally just baby sit the class. I may be wrong, but it sure seems like there are a lot less "days of instruction" than there used to be. We get lots of half days designed to meet the state guideline for "days of instruction" without actually going to the trouble of a full day's teaching. I noticed in Ezra's source material that 1100 hours was considered "full-time" I'll bet that when you take out summer, all the national holidays, all the school vacations, all the contractual personal time and sick days and than multiply the remaining 7 hour work days that you are hard pressed to find the school staff clocking in for 1100 hours.
Another issue with the study Ezra is quoting is the idea that a teaching degree and an electrical engineering degree are comparable... I don't think that such a comparision is justified.
And one last issue is that the numbers seem to be up to 5 years old and in the months and years since the 2005 and 2009 studies the pay differential has done nothing but dramatically increase.
Our local city employees get caught sleeping on the job all of the time, they never get fired... I think that private industry employees just don't get long stretches of time with nothing to do where sleeping on th3e job would become an option.
I also find it just downright creepy that some old line union boss, with three or four seperate pensions, a variety of paychecks simultaneously coming in from different union titles (national, regional and local paychecks) can just call up his creatures in the state senate and send them out of town and then, call the Governor of the State of Wisconsin and offer to negotiate a deal.
I'd wager that he and his cohort of union bosses are tapping the teachers of wisconsin and the state of wisconsin public workers for near $20 million a month in dues... Ezra, you and I both know that those folks would love a chance to not send $70-$100/month to marty Beil and Mary Bell. They can't say so publically or they will be punished but given the chance to keep their "dues" I bet that a strong majority would do just that.
S

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | February 20, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Cheesy


Great post. My kids in elementary school regularly see about ten to fifteen movies a year during substitute time or for other reasons. And they wonder why we fail vs other countries. It's amazing that liberals always bring up healthcare statistics vs the rest of the world but conveniently forget it when covering for the poor education systems. Maybe healthcare entities should have donated hundreds of millions to Dems like labor has

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 20, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wear red on Tuesday to show your support for workers in Wisconsin in such fields as education, medicine, and corrections who are fighting to maintain their right to have a say in their working conditions and prevent the governor from gaining dictatorial-type powers unheard of in American history.

Posted by: fishman2 | February 20, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

the figures dont risk adjust the compensation, e.g. you have x% risk of losing your job in pvt sector thru outsourcing, merger, etc over your lifetime. You can also value retirement healthcare and pensions many ways, depending on how long you live, but pvt sector rarely offers post employment benefits. So sure, wage/benefit parity, but give up post employment benefits. Public sector workers pay little for healthcare how bout 75/25 split like pvt sector?

Posted by: mikey999 | February 20, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

For me the queasiest sleaziest part of this "Wisconsin protest" deal is the unvarnished unhidden power of the several union bosses involved. We all know that they have been virtually unchallenged for decades by the elected officials or the hundreds of thousands of workers under their thumbs. Now, when the citizens of the state rise up against them, disgusted by the sleaziness of union bosses sending democrat senators scurrying out of the state like page boys, these bosses don't quite get it... Theyvcall up the governor to "negotiate"..... There is only one concern for them, they need the union dues to flow unhindered, they need control over those "health and welfare" funds and they need to prevent regular free and fair union elections.
There is no one on either side of this debate who actually believes that the "members" would funnel $70-$100 a month to these thugs if the state wasn't grabbing the money put of paychecks for them. let's not forget that the cost of teacher and state employee health care is driven up, not only because the plans are gold plated but also because all of those teacher and state employee health care dollars slide through the sticky fingers of these union bosses. Ezra, I read your stuff all of them time, you seem an industrious sort. Do you really want to throw in with these "president for life" union bosses? for Christ's sake Ezra, these union local get handed down from father to son like used car dealerships. do you really love these thugs or do you just hate the republicans? You have to admit that it's pretty odd for the president to weigh in on this..... Don't get me wrong here, I voted for the guy, but he seems to have boundary issues when it comes to just exactly what his role is. His input won't change this outcome, Wisconsin is moving right and all the crying and moaning will only make it move further.
I think that you would be well served by taking yourself outside the box and looking around a bit. Fly up to Northern Wisconsin and look around a bit. Go to Wausau or Eau Claire and look around a bit. Now I see you firing off obviously biased stuff in an almost knee jerk reaction. It's a big story, it deserves more than you are offering to us. You did a boat load of healthcare stories. I didn't always agree with your point of view but at least you were on top of the issue. On this issue you seem too boxed in by politics to give the people of Wisconsin a fair shake.
Go ask a few hundred union guys if they would rather "decide" to send dues rather than have them confiscated . Maybe a guy like you can't provide light here, maybe it is your job to write the story which you are ordered to write. Is there some union tapping you for $80 every month? If you write this story any different would you get a disappointed call from someone? Is it easier to just go along and get along? Is your job too important to screw up by getting out of line?
Good luck to you
S

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | February 21, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

"We should just give Republicans everything they want... Then, let the country percolate for a few years and see how things work out."

We tried that during the Bush years, and it certainly was beneficial in terms of helping me understand how bad conservative policies actually are.

Posted by: KennethAlmquist | February 21, 2011 1:49 AM | Report abuse

After about thirteen posts down I felt I should say this:

Dear Mr Klein,

I don't know if you read these comments. For your sake, I hope you don't. I must let you know that there are some of us who understand the words,

"...total compensation -- that is to say, wages and health-care benefits and pensions -- among public and private workers in Wisconsin."

when put in that order.
And some of us even note that you define 'total compensation' for those who don't know the term. I'm very sorry that so many Post readers don't have the aptitude to understand your explanation that public workers in Wisconsin receive less money working in the public sector over private. And I'm even more sorry that they have the gall to ask you for a link to your sources when you so kindly provided that for us.

Some of us appreciate your insight.

Sincere Apologies & Thanks,
A twenty something college graduate
(Opps, I meant Elite Pinko Commie Facist)

Posted by: WFry | February 21, 2011 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Wfry, you snob, it's not what Mr. Klein says that the study says which is in question amongst the commenters who you seem to so despise (after years of living off other people's taxes, you grow to hate the taxpayers don't you?) The issue we are looking at is the methodology of the study ("figures lie and liars figure") apparently it didn't work for the author of this study to compare an hourly apple to an hourly apple. It just wouldn't do to compare a public to a private teacher (you know, ifrom those hated private schools where the kids actually receive an education) so instead, they compared teachers to private sector workers with masters degrees. I think that such fiddling with the number deserves a more prominent location in Ezra's story, don't you?
Let's not pass by the study's tortured description of "full time" 1100 hours a year? Heaven forbid that we actually compare the teachers to their actual cohort, the part-time workers group. Wfry, only folks in the comforting cushion of the bureaucracy think of a job that last nine or so months, nine months interrupted by a month or more of "school vacations", every single Federal holiday, and about a dozen other days off for "conferences" and what not, a fist full of "half days", an occasional paid "snow day", a job with seven hour work days on the days when none of the other conditions apply as a "Full time job".
Now, don't get me wrong, I love teachers, some of my best friends are teachers, they do a hard job but their union is starting to hurt the children. I think most teachers know it and would welcome a chance to stand down from the barricades. These local union bosses hold the teacher's lives in their fingers and the teacher's wallets are the union bosses playground. Ezra doesn't seem to recognize that supporting unions seems to involve pumping money into the pockets of a lot of arrogant union thugs. Bosses, who after decades of running the political show in Wisconsin, actually think that they can send their senate creatures scurrying out of state and "negotiate" with the governor. You, wfry, you high and mighty "educated" one, you who sup on the fruit of the taxpayer's labor, you dismiss the plaintive arguments of the folks who struggle and pay for your bread as "not worth reading" , you say "we need to tax the rich" .... Didn't you notice wfry, last time I went out and looked at who owns lake homes or pondered at the beautiful new cars in the county office building parking lot... Wfry, face it, you are the rich and that sales tax, property tax that is your life's blood comes directly from the poor. Those kids in Milwaukee, who are denied an education by the teacher's union bosses, are martyrs hanging on your conscience.
Ezra, I hope you read the comments and note the difference between the factions, those who blindly support and those brave enough to question a "study" handed down from the Ivory tower.
Ezra, did you actually read that study?
S

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | February 21, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Check out this online database of teachers' and adminstrators' salaries in WI and see if they really need collective bargaining rights.
http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/dataondemand/33534649.html

If you don't think you're paid enough in the public sector, find an alternative. The rest of us don't have guaranteed jobs and we fund our own retirements. There is no more money.

Posted by: joanne600 | February 21, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

As a person on the left, I need to ask my people (including you Ezra) to stop making these comparisons. They're economically silly.

If you want to determine whether a group or a person is over/under paid, then look at the choices they make. Namely, do they leave their job? This is the clearest indicator of whether a group is paid correctly.

Of course, any study of this nature would need to take into consideration that people in certain jobs might naturally be more conservative in regards to both switching jobs and switching professions. I think some bright economics people could do the math.

Reports from EPI have fairly significant liberal biases. I personally ignore their reports. Which is a shame, because if they did better economics, they might be more influential.

Posted by: wiscoDude | February 21, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

It's time people examined what these politicians earn and demand they take cuts too. "Just like the rest of us."

Wisconsin legislators:
1. Earn a salary of @$50,000 per year plus $88 for every day they are in session.
2. Determine their salary. (they gave themselves a 5% pay raise this biennium while state employees received 0% pay raise this biennium. Why isn't this 5% raise being rescinded in the bill?)
3. Are elected to terms of 2, 4 or 6 years yet they pay next to nothing for their pension and healthcare, and receive time-off with pay benefits at the same rate as permanent full-time state employees yet their positions are temporary in nature. (WI temporary state employees and private sector temporary employees do not receive most of these benefits.)

Where are the benefits cuts for all elected officials in the WI and Fed budget bills? Elected Milwaukee County Board Supervisors voted themselves a million dollar pension. Where are the controls to prevent elected officials from forcing the taxpayer to pay for benefits that most taxpayers do not have themselves? Will any legislator amend these bills to make cuts to elected official benefits and limit their power to determine their benefit packages?

Shouldn't elected officials have to pay their fair share and take cuts just like the rest of us?

Posted by: Facts-101 | February 21, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Just want to point out that I don't think the EPI study really compares apples to apples.

Sorting by education is misleading because I believe one would find that private sector employees often perform a wider range of tasks and have different responsibilities than their public sector counterparts with the same educational level. The difference between public and private compensation could consist of many things, one of which is the job itself.

In other words, you get paid for what you do, not for what you did in college.

Therefore, it seems that this EPI study doesn't have much to offer to the debate on whether public sector employees are overpaid or not.

Posted by: bmdgallego | February 21, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Government employee unions are an abomination that should have NEVER occurred. Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government. The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.

Posted by: illogicbuster | February 22, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Ezra. once again, cherry picks data to try to support a liberal position.

Jim Manzi destroys his argument - absolutely destroys it.

Print a retraction Ezra and save yourself further embarrassment.

Oh wait...liberals never admit they are wrong, do they?

Posted by: manbearpig4 | February 22, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

It really must be tough being a die hard liberal these days. Your entire world view is crumbling before you and nothing you say has changed that momentum. I'd feel sorry for you but you are getting crushed by a bunch of crazy racist teabaggers. Would you like ketchup with those nuts?

Posted by: permagrin | February 22, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/260337/are-wisconsin-public-employees-underpaid-jim-manzi

Posted by: pds2847 | February 22, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

To: MikeOliver1 - Please read the story before you comment. The pay difference is ELEVEN PERCENT. Then, after everything you've just mentioned is factored in, it is STILL 5 percent less for public employees.

Those so called "spoiled prima donnas" you talk about are your neighbors, and they educate your children, clean and maintain your parks, streets, and buildings, pick up your trash, represent your in court if you get into trouble, enforce your laws and protect you from criminals, fight fires, save your life if you get hurt, etc. etc. etc. Why so hateful towards the people who help make your life liveable and who help our society be what it is?

"It would be nice if just once someone comparing public to private compensation would also put up a graph showing how many more hours the average private employed worker puts in. The paid vacations, comp time, and paid holidays mean that public employees are far better compensated per hour worked. Add to that, private sector workers invest much more heavily into their own health insurance and retirement benefits.

It's long past time these spoiled prima donnas were confronted.

Posted by: MikeOliver1"

Posted by: mcj91201 | February 23, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Objective11-sick and/or vacation time is federally and state protected. You get at least your vacation time when you leave a job, anyway. If you are not, then the employer is breaking the law.

Posted by: Alathea | February 24, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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