For Public Employees in Wisconsin, The Party May Be Over

If the newly elected Republican Governor of Wisconsin has anything to say about it, the state’s public employees will soon be stripped of their collective bargaining rights.  After 50 plus years of protected and pampered status, the public sector workers in Wisconsin may now be facing a future filled with the same financial realities as their private sector brethren.

Governor Scott Walker is aggressively pursuing a change in state law that would remove the right of public employees to negotiate on any issue other than salary.  He is also proposing that state workers contribute toward their pension plans and increase their contribution toward the cost of their healthcare benefits.

Walker, who took office in January, has been very public about his desire to seek deep concessions from state workers. He has said state public employees should be forced to pay 5 percent of their salary toward their pension and increase their share of health insurance costs up to 12 percent. Currently,  most workers don’t contribute anything to their pensions and pay between 4% and 6% of their health insurance costs.   Twin Cities

Needless to say, the state employees’ union is loudly voicing its opposition to the Governor’s plan as are the Democrats in the state’s legislature.  But the Dems are basically powerless to stop the bill.  Republicans control both the Assembly and the Senate.

I have little sympathy for these spoiled state employees.  Most of the workers in the private sector have to save for retirement through defined contribution plans, such as 401ks.  Private sector workers have to set aside money for retirement with each and every pay check.  And they are expected to take on a bigger share of healthcare costs with each passing year.

Most workers earning their living in the real world of business pay a small fortune each month for medical coverage.  Their retirement income must be planned and payed for with their own hard-earned dollars and hopefully with matching contributions from their employers.  They also have to hang onto a wish-and-a-prayer that the stock market doesn’t crash right before they’re ready to retire.

The world is full of financial risk.  And there’s nothing wrong with trying to offset that risk.  But for public employees to think they are a protected class of privileged citizens exempt from the same financial realities that confront the people who foot the bill, is to indulge an arrogantly delusional mindset that has seen its day. America is no longer buying it.

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4 Responses to For Public Employees in Wisconsin, The Party May Be Over

  1. Mary says:

    Can I just say, “OH please oh please oh please!” Do not get me started on unions. In CA it is so out of control it makes my head spin. Out city government spends 80% on commitments. Basically the employees pensions healthcare etc. They can also retire at 55 get another job and collect a SECOND pension. AUGH! My favorite question to ask people is, how much does our state spend on education? The answer is always less than 10%. The answer is a whopping 50%. Yep that is right 50%. The money is going to teachers who get tenure after 18 months and can collect a pension. We are at the bottom in terms of test scores too. Back in the 60’s it was illegal for unions to bargain for public employees. I WANT THOSE DAYS BACK!!!!! It also just kills me how much the libs will vilify big corporations yet they have no problem with unions. Oh my goodness do not get me started 🙂

  2. Linda says:

    I could not agree with you more. If it were up to me, there would be no such thing as public employee pensions, unless it came out of their own pocket like it does in the private sector. I’m self employed and know all too well how difficult it is to put away money for retirement and deal with ever increasing health care insurance costs. I would also do away with all public employee unions. It’s unfair that they can hold the taxpayer hostage. It’s time to end the madness.

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