Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Union Rules--Not the Management

Kinda buried in the article about overtime/sick time abuse by unionized State prison guards:

Officers earn three to four weeks of sick leave a year, and can carry over their sick leave from one year to the next. Unused sick leave can be tapped to pay for health care in retirement

Helluva deal.

In the real world, sick-leave hours are "use 'em or lose 'em," and NOBODY gets 120-160 hours' sick leave/year. NOBODY.

But those poor, stressed-out, overworked folks in the Union---my oh my, how the State mistreats them, eh?

The non-solution: more of the same.

Lawmakers agreed to hire 50 new officers in October to cut overtime costs. The move is expected to drop overtime costs to $26.3 million this fiscal year, down from $38.2 million last fiscal year

Cut overtime costs, increase "sick" leave accruals and pension obligations.

Yah, that's smart.


RAG said...

It's not quite that simple.

The guards could be screwing themselves in the end because of what's actually a well-reasoned policy to discourage sick leave abuse.

The state does not pay retiree health insurance (many school districts and local governments do). What the state does is use an employee's unused sick leave to create an insurance fund at retirement and retirees pay their own health insurance from that fund. Think of it like COBRA.

The guards may be fudging the system now but at the end of the day the state could have a last laugh when the guards don't have much left in their insurance account. Of course, if they don't plan to retire, that sick leave is lost.

"Use it or lose it" sick leave is not beneficial to any employer. I worked at places with those policies and it's amazing how many people were "sick" 13 days a year.

As for public-vs.-private industry comparisons, that's not apples for apples. In private industry I had a company car, gifts and bonuses, tuition reimbursement, yacht parties, discount from vendors and the like. In the public sector those would mostly be called bribes.

Billiam said...

Hmm. I my real world, I don't work, I don't get paid. My company does give us 3 paid days for the death of a 1st tier family member such as a spouse or parent. That's it.

RAG said...

Wow, Bill. I feel for you.

Dad29 said...

Perhaps the "private industry" you joined was susceptible to bribery. Maybe that's why you got out of it.

In the non-bribery real world, company cars are no longer issued except for on-the-road sales types and maybe the top two or three officers of the Company.

Bonus, yes--earned, not given. Yacht parties? No big deal. Lotsa parties in the old days, fewer these days except from firms which obviously are over-charging their customers.

As to "vendor discounts"? That's dangerous.

Back to the top: sounds like your "private industry" was susceptible to all sorts of semi-ethical practices.

And we wonder why the ChiComs are taking business left and right...

RAG said...

Actually it was a very ethical business.

Though the number is decreasing, there still are good companies that take care of good employees.

Dad29 said...

I'll stand by my comment, rag.

The business you were in was seriously overcharging its customers.

And you're right: the serious over-chargers are becoming few.

No surprise. People are paying attention these days.

RAG said...

Benefits are almost as good as when I worked for a predecessor company 30 years ago.

Health Care Coverage
Comprehensive medical and prescription, dental, and vision coverage.

Life Insurance
Basic Life Insurance provides a benefit of 1 1/2 times annual base earnings. Optional additional, spousal, and child life insurance are also made available for purchase.

Fully funded short-term disability benefits may continue for up to 26 weeks per calendar year. Employees can also elect long-term disability coverage.

Leave of Absence
If eligible, employees may request leave for events such as military duty, the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, bereavement, or illness (their own or an immediate family member’s). Except for military leave, leaves of absence must be approved by management and may be granted in six-month intervals.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The EAP provides assistance with a wide range of personal issues and concerns on a confidential basis.

Comcast reimburses up to $5,250 per calendar year for approved undergraduate and graduate degree-completion programs.

Through a combination of vacation days, flex-time, and floating and paid holidays, newly hired employees can have up to 22 paid days off during the first year of employment.

Future Investments
As part of our 401(k) retirement investment plan, employees are eligible for tax-deferred savings of up to 50% (or up to the annual IRS limits) of qualified earnings through a payroll deduction and can choose from a variety of investment funds. Comcast matches 100% of an employee's first 6% of savings.

Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESSP)
The ESSP offers employees an opportunity to purchase shares of Comcast stock at a 15% discount. Each quarter, eligible employees may elect to contribute up to 10% of their pay (not to exceed $10,000 per year) toward the purchase of Comcast stock through payroll deductions. At the end of the quarter, the contributions will be used to purchase shares.

Additional Voluntary Benefits
Comcast offers voluntary benefits including prepaid legal services, property casualty insurance, pet insurance, and long-term-care insurance through convenient after-tax payroll deductions.

Employee Referral Program
No matter where you work or where your referral is hired, you will receive a referral bonus thanks to Comcast’s national referral program. In addition, there is a quarterly program that gives employees the chance to win prizes.

Courtesy Cable
Employees are provided with basic service, all pay services, discounted Pay-Per-View, and two outlets. Eligible employees must be in a Comcast-serviceable area or an area in which we have a reciprocal agreement with the local cable provider.

Courtesy On-Line Service
Employees living within a Comcast-serviceable area will receive one free cable modem, including installation. Employees are responsible for the purchase of the network interface card (NIC).

Comcast University: An Education in Advancement
Comcast University is our nationwide training and development organization. Employees have access to all the services the University offers, including:

Training Programs
To help you be the best you can be, we provide comprehensive training for Communications Technicians, Customer Account Executives, Advertising Sales Executives, and more.

Management Training
Get the skills to be the best manager you can be through classes like Fundamentals of Leadership, the Management Development Program, or the Executive Leadership Forum.

National Internal Posting Process and Network
Comcast wants to help you grow professionally. If an employee sees a division of Comcast that they would like to work in, we allow them to follow their interest in any location or department. In addition, Comcast will then help them identify the next step up their career ladder.

Reaching Your Full Potential
Comcast understands the value of helping our employees achieve important goals. And education is high on the list. When you succeed, we succeed. That’s why we offer reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for approved undergraduate and graduate degree completion programs.

Dad29 said...

rag, there's nothing there that is extraordinary--22 paid days? No big; there are 6 paid holidays at minimum, and most companies add 4 to the minimum. Add 10 days vacation, and 2 days personal, and you have 22.

I recall the days of the 'cable wars' for the Milwaukee franchise. There was a great deal of.....h.uh....spending going on.

It was bribery, no doubt.

And that bribery included hiring ex-high-level staffers of various Gummint types due to their connections.

Call it "persuasion" if you like.

So. You claim that benefits are unusually good at Comcast, and in fact they do NOT include a fixed benefit pension plan; it's likely that the health insurance policy includes a $3K/family co-pay and deductible combo. Most likely the employees are now making a premium contribution--which was not mentioned in the blurb, but...

Concentrate on real expensive items like the terms of the health plan and the fixed-bennie pension and you'll figure out what all of us know:

Public sector people live large in comparison.