Tuesday, February 15, 2011

State Workers' Pay: Damn Fine!

P-Mac gets to the nitty-gritty on the "poor us" State union wage survey.

...taking that EPI report, as well as another by several UW-Milwaukee researchers, as gospel, you could still ask, as Reason Foundations’ Adam Summers did, some good questions. Such as whether governments rely too much on educational credentials when hiring. Or, again, the hour-for-hour comparison, since federal stats show government work is shorter. And, for that matter, whether much better job security in the public sector has been accounted for, it being worth quite a bit.

In fact, that government workers are said to be underpaid given their long experience, one might note that this is because public sector jobs have an unusually low rate of turnover. If the work is so fundamentally underpaid, why do so few people find it dissatisfactory enough to quit?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but very few State/Local workers REALLY have to have college degrees--and yes, longevity has to do with "fat and happy"--not to mention that no one apparently wants to pay them MORE to leave.

There's a reason for that.

1 comment:

RAG said...

One reason is that there were tradeoffs in collective bargaining -- paid insurance and pension in exchange for lower wages. The employer benefitted from those as well as they didn't have to pay FICA and other taxes on increased wages and got a longer float on the money. It wasn't all one-sided.

I wonder if some costs could be contained if the state had more control on health care costs. The Wisconsin Retirement Fund is among the best in the nation -- well-managed. We have a great university hospital (as does Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan). We have some fantastic private care at Marshfield. Could we contain some costs by self-funding some health care costs instead of funding a page of HMO programs and collaborating with UW and our neighbors as well as Marshfield and Mayo to tackle more challenging cases? Can't help but wonder if we'd see better care and lower costs.