(Closed) Public Employees & Unions

posted 7 years ago in Career
  • poll: Are public employees unions still necessary?
    Yes, they help protect workers : (36 votes)
    72 %
    No, they hold the public who they serve hostage : (14 votes)
    28 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    1309 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2011

    How about some of both? It’s hard because these are working people, not Wall Street millionaires. All the worker protections that they have, the private sector should really have too…instead of bringing standards for pub. employees down, we should be bringing private sector standards up…

    But then the reality is there is no money to make that work. If it’s not there, it’s not there and something has to change to make ends meet. State and local governments can’t print money to meet budget shortfalls. Something has to give.

    Post # 4
    Member
    338 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    As a librarian at a public library (non-unionized), I can definitely see the benefits in being a part of a union.  Though we are professionals and all have master’s degrees, we make in the low 30s as it is, and now they are trying to strip us of all our benefits in addition to that (sick time, etc). We get treated like shit by the public on a daily basis (not every library patron, mind you; some appreciate us) and are recently weekly being told by the library board that we are interchangeable with workers at fast food jobs (because they have no idea what librarians actually do and didn’t even have library cards until they became board members). I could go on. Library unions are not the most rabid of unions, but at the very least if we were unionized, we would be able to have representation that actually knows how a library works in decision-making meetings, so that they could say, “Yes, the librarians would love to take on that challenge,” or, “No, that works for a big box corporation, but would never actually work in a library.” As it is, we have at least one board member who just last week motioned to have our salaries cut across the board by 30% just because he thought we were being “big babies” because we were upset about having all of our benefits taken away. It didn’t pass, thank goodness.

    Post # 5
    Member
    11325 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2011

    IMO, taking unions away from public employees leaves them completely vulnerable to the whims of government. Most of them don’t make very much, and part of their compensation is (supposed to be) their awesome benefits. Now they’re trying to take those away. Public employees keep us safe and teach our children. We don’t pay them enough as it is… why are we trying to take away what little compensation they do get? 

    The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach and sad. 

    Post # 6
    Member
    3943 posts
    Honey bee

    I’m afraid to even comment on this thread, I know this debate gets heated.

    I come from a union family (dad and brother). I’m not in a union, but work for a union employer. I am not fan of them.  In my opinion, its not far that unions get automatic pay increases each year while the rest of us haven’t seen an increase in 2 years.

    The average salary for a Boston school teacher is approx. $76,000 (that was from 07-08…the latest statistics I could find but I am sure its out there somewhere). Thats a hell of a lot more than I make, and yes I have a college degree from a well known school. Not to mention they have more vacation time in a year than I could ever dream of.

    Post # 7
    Member
    384 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    As a public employee, supported by a union, I fall inbetween the poll options.  There are things that my union has done “on my behalf” that have really effed up how I plan my time and do my job.  There are other things they have done that have really benefited me.  Most public employees don’t get into the job for the salary.  What keeps us here is the satisfaction of a job well done and the benefits.  You take away my benefits and I’m out the door.  I’m sorry, but no amount of satisfaction in the work that I do will cover my greatly increased insurance premium. . .especially when I haven’t had a raise (COLA or otherwise) in 4 years. 

    Post # 8
    Member
    2821 posts
    Sugar bee

    My opinion is that unions bring the standard of living up.  I wish we had unions or at least more standards in the field I worked in. 

    Post # 9
    Member
    4771 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @Bostongrl25:

    So you’re mad that someone in a union makes more adn gets pay raises?  Join a union!

    Post # 10
    Member
    11325 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2011

    Also, in Ohio (and a LOT of other areas) teachers make nooooooooooowhere near that. When I was in high school my math teacher– who had been at the school for over 20 years– made $42,000 per year. 

    And the government wants to cut into his healthcare benefits? Sigh.

    Post # 11
    Member
    3943 posts
    Honey bee

    @Atalanta: I work in HR and as a manager I am not allowed to join the union.

    Post # 12
    Member
    5784 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: May 2011

    No one will ever be able to convince me that teachers are overpaid, no amount of money could entice me to teach 24 7 yr olds. Now the MTA union pisses me off, the way they have been mismanaged over the years is disgusting.

    Post # 13
    Member
    6394 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2011

    Unions can definitely be or become corrupt. A lot of money does get poured back into the administrator’s pockets. But then again, they also do a ton for their employees. Lobbying isn’t cheap, and neither are labor negotiations or strikes. I come from a union family, too, and I believe that overall they do benefit everyone concerned.

    Post # 14
    Member
    158 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2011

    I’m a public employee in NC where we are not allowed to be unionized and it BLOWS!  I have the same job as a private employee and make about 30K less. I love what I do and it’s non-profit, so I suck it up.  Not everyone gets to go to a job they like everyday.  However, when they start messing with my health insurance, force me to contribute 6% of my income to a retirement plan that only matches 3% and I will likely never fully benefit from, strip my benefits, not give me a raise for 3 years, and furlough me… it becomes a problem.

    HOWEVER, I also know that if I were in the private sector, I could be laid off, not just furloughed or lose benefits.  The state is our employer and if it were “just a business” that was in debt, more layoffs would have happened a long time ago.  The state is in debt and it needs to do what it needs to do to keep running.  Is it horrible?  Yes, but it’s happening to people all over the country.  Just because we are state employees doesn’t mean we are exempt from the suckage.

    Post # 15
    Member
    13099 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2010

    @Bostongrl25: I’m with you – not a fan of unions.  The force the government into giving benefits to these union members that are far beyond what is reasonable.

    The striking of teachers and other union workers in Wisconson really makes me want to look at them and say, “do you know how greedy you are??”  Right now, they don’t have to contribute a single penny to their retirement.  The taxpayers fund it 100% (in addition to having to fund our own).  And these teachers get paid damn well – way better than I do as an engineer!

    Here’s the average wage and benefits for school teachers throughout Wisconsin (by school district):

    • Milwaukee $86,297
    • Elmbrook $91,065
    • Germantown $83,818
    • Hartland Arrowhead $90,285 (highest teacher was $122,952-lowest was $64,942)
    • Men. Falls $81,099
    • West Bend $82,153
    • Waukesha $92,902
    • Sussex  $82,956
    • Mequon $95,297
    • Kettle Mor $87,676
    • Muskego $91,341

    The Madison garbage men often make over $70,000 a year with some making as much as $159,000.  The Milwaukee bus drivers also make over $70,000 a year and top out at $117,000.  And again – none of these people have to fund a penny of their retirement.

    Yes – I do think that teachers, bus drivers, garbage men, etc should be compensated but unions have lead the compensation structure to become completely out of whack.  I honestly beleive that unions are more of a barrier to the growth and improvement of the US than they are a benefit to us.

    Post # 16
    Member
    11325 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2011

    Just wanted to add that my family is actually kind of on both sides of this. My dad was a manager at a public facility so he was the one negotiating with the public employees union for decades, while my mom works at a school and is the head of her union. Both of them fully support unions. 

    Also, @FutureKMM, where did you find those figures? Just curious. I know that is not anywhere near the case in Ohio. 

    The topic ‘Public Employees & Unions’ is closed to new replies.

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