Government employee union reform proposals in Gov. Walker’s budget repair bill:
* Limits collective bargaining for most government sector employees to wages only, with wages capped to inflation;
* Union members given the opportunity to vote every year to keep their union;
* State can no longer collect union dues;
* Requires union members to contribute 5.8% of their salary toward their pensions and 12.6% to the cost of their health insurance premiums.
o The comparable nationwide employee healthcare contribution is 20% according to the BLS.
o The comparable employee contribution for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute
The bottom line:
* This is about balancing the budget;
* Compared to the national average, it is a modest proposal to ask government workers to contribute to their healthcare and pension;
* The Governor’s full proposal will save $300 million and prevent approximately 5,500 layoffs of state workers and a similar amount of local government employees and teachers. As a result the Governor’s budget will not include furloughs or layoffs;
* Workers will save money because union dues will not be required or collected by the government;
* This bill has had over 17 hours of public hearings and vigorously debated.
A union members response;
Politicians are on the same side of the bargaining table as government employees – against the taxpayers, who aren’t allowed to be part of the negotiation. This is why the head of New York’s largest public union in the mid-’70s, Victor Gotbaum, gloated, “We have the ability to elect our own boss.”
Democratic politicians don’t think of themselves as “management.” They don’t respond to union demands for more money by saying, “Are you kidding me?” They say, “Great – get me a raise too!”
When a hard-working citizen making $40,000 a year in the private sector in Wisconsin sees a unionized public school teacher in a failed system in Milwaukee making just over $100,000 a year average for pay, benefit and pension,and when that same citizen then realizes that that teacher’s pay is for about 1,300 hours of work per year (summers off, vacations throughout the year, 7-hour workdays, etc.) versus 2,000 hours for the private-sector worker, hat citizen is going to say enough is enough.