The good folks at MacIver Institute are working overtime.
“It’s about rights, not pay,” is their new mantra. Organized government employee unions are expressing panic over their would-be inability to negotiate items other than pay. They are specifically troubled at the prospect of no longer being able to dictate work rules, engage in union activities during the work week or participate in negotiated procedures to mitigate their grievances against management.
News flash. The work rules and grievance procedures for public employee unions cost taxpayers dearly in loss of productivity; and state taxpayers can no longer afford to sit by while some employees engage in union-related activities rather than performing the duties for which they are presumably employed.
The various contracts between the state of Wisconsin and their multiple government employee unions contain dozens of provisions regarding guaranteeing the ability of union stewards to operate in and out of the workplace, often while paid.
They are allowed to use work interoffice mail, phones, email and fax machines to communicate union business.
They are guaranteed time off to attend union-mandated educational classes as well as to attend annual union conventions.
Employees on leave without pay to attend to union and contract bargaining activities are allowed to still accrue vacation and sick leave, not for time working for the state, but for time participating in authorized union activities.
The most-senior employees are generally allowed to bump down to a lower classification if they are minimumly qualified to perform the new job, yet they still maintain their current rate of pay when (or more precisely if) layoffs occur. This routinely leaves the newest employees the most vulnerable while reducing the cost-savings associated with employee attrition.
This budget repair bill is a step in taming the behemoth. The Walker Administration projects $330 million in savings over the next two years. What is not calculated is the increased productivity taxpayers will see when union business is no longer conducted on their dime.
You can’t balance the state’s budget by these measures alone, but without these measures, the budget won’t balance, workers will be let go, children will be kicked off Medicaid, or a combination of those results will occur.
So that, folks, is why changes to collective bargaining practices are included in the budget repair bill, alongside the wage and benefit changes. Doing so will save taxpayers money.
Be sure to go read the whole article, especially the selected provisions of state employee contracts.
- Collective Bargaining & the Budget (khassy2010.wordpress.com)
- “Era of Unions Living Off Taxpayers has Ended” and related posts (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- The Difference Between Private and Public Sector Unions (reason.com)