Monday, March 01, 2010

Public-Employee Union "Negotiations"

Last week it was reported that public employees were unusually-well blessed with pension payouts in Wisconsin. The same can be said for California, Illinois, and a number of other States (and locals.)

In Madison, the bus drivers were knocking down $100K++ due to contract language--but the REAL reason for the to earn megabucks has to do with .........

You guessed it: pension payments.

In the combox, you'll see remarks about a similar situation in Appleton. Pensions, again.

What we have here, folks, is the appearance of "negotiation"--but not the reality. In most (not all) of the cases, white-collar State/City/Local employees "negotiate" with blue-collar State/City/Local employees over pensions, health insurance, (etc.)--but in fact, the 'white-collar' folks will get substantially the SAME benefit-schedule as do the 'blue-collar' people, once the contract is signed.

Can you say "Conflict of interest?" Or to be less inflammatory, "Potential conflict of interest"? Or "Appearance of conflict of interest"?

Salaries/wages are 'above-the-fold' items for newspaper reporters and for most citizens. The negotiators know that, too. So they pose for holy pictures with low-low-low front-end prices while the details of the retirement and healthcare provisions--the real time-bombs--lie there unexamined.

There has to be a better way. Maybe a negotiating-team majority composed of non-public-employees on the 'white-collar' side of the table? I.R. folks from local businesses would be useful, because they bring knowledge of comp/bennie arrangements in private industry.

By the way, the same is (or was) true for GM/FoMoCo/Chrysler. Only FoMoCo has survived, so far.

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