This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 4, 2011 7:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was A Portlander's prayer. The next post in this blog is Guess who's back. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The year the worm turns, cont'd

It looks as though some state governments are going straight to union-busting.

Comments (6)

Even Gov Brown has become a believer:

"In addition to Mr. Cuomo, California’s new Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, is promising to review the benefits received by government workers in his state, which faces a more than $20 billion budget shortfall over the next 18 months.

“We will also have to look at our system of pensions and how to ensure that they are transparent and actuarially sound and fair — fair to the workers and fair to the taxpayers,” Mr. Brown said in his inaugural speech on Monday."

I'm glad that here in Oregon our PERS and other gov't pensions are 'actuarially sound and fair', so we don't have that problem. Plus, Gov Kulo solved that problem when he reformed PERS back in 2002-2003.

More from NYT:
"Many of the state officials pushing for union-related changes say they want to restore some balance, arguing that unions have become too powerful, skewing political campaigns with their large war chests and throwing state budgets off kilter with their expensive pension plans."

Sounds like warmed over FauxNews... 'fair and balanced'. We don't need that in Oregon.

On one hand it really isn’t fair to just scapegoat public employees for the budget shortfalls of local governments. That said, there needs to be more balance in benefits received by local government employees. Contracts that provide teachers and desk jockey workers the ability to retire at ages as young as 55 with full benefits need to be overhauled. The practice of police and firemen jacking up their last year’s wages by taking on overtime and cashing out their vacation and sick pay to uber maximize their pension payments should be stopped. Giving employees generous vacation and sick leave can also be modified. In Oregon the average state employee has over 30 of these paid days a year not including national holidays. Cut that in half and you will need about five percent fewer state employees. In private industry there are no more sick days, as an employee gets PTO (paid time off days) to use as they wish. The norm is about 15 per year in the private sector. State health benefits could be modified a little bit too. Raising the co pay which is currently $1 for Oregon state employees enrolled with Kaiser to $10 would save millions in premium payments.

In private industry there are no more sick days, as an employee gets PTO (paid time off days) to use as they wish.

Yes, and this translates to sick people coming into the office (where they infect their co-workers, who in turn come to the office) because they don't want to waste their vacation days.

It's pathetic to watch the corporate apologists who bankrupted the country try to scapegoat a bunch of teachers and cops who had the nerve to live by the terms of the contracts they signed.

I'm never really sure what's meant by "fair" in a discussion of government employees. The fact is that most of the money government spends is for the salary and benefit packages we pay our employees. It is not possible to bring government budgets into balance without reducing - perhaps dramatically - compensation packages OR the number of employees. Oregon governments have been merrily increasing both the number of employees and their compensation packages during the recession. Those chickens are coming home...to roost (with apologies to RJW).

Dave; I managed a non profit that gave employees twelve sick days off a year. It was miraculous that every employee took twelve sick days, every one. One would think that out of a couple hundred employees that some would only need 4 or 5 and others more than twelve. Miracle of Miracles everyone was sick twelve days a year. What was even more amazing was that 98% of the sick days were Fridays and Mondays. When we changed policies the sick days went away as if by magic.

One would think that out of a couple hundred employees that some would only need 4 or 5 and others more than twelve.

Why would anyone think that? Any HR professional will tell you that you have to assume that just about everyone *will* use most or all of their sick days, and figure that cost into determining your benefit package. This is still preferable to the Paid Time Off system, which encourages people to come in to work when sick and infect others in order to maximize their vacation days.

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