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Are Ohio Public Employees Over-compensated?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Politics Are Ohio Public Employees Over-compensated?

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  • #427553

    Trame
    Participant

    gramarye wrote >>
    <
    I’d also be curious as to whether there was any control for average hours worked during the course of a given month/year. Not only do government workers get several more holidays than the private sector, but most aren’t at the office at 6:00, let alone 9:00.

    Not sure which class of “government workers” you are after (politicians maybe?), but having worked a state job for the last 6 years I can state that hourly folks work 40 hours a week (clock in, clock out) and many salaried folks work more than 40 hours a week with no overtime. Personally I show up at 7:30 AM and there are about 100 folks here before I am. I can count on my hand the number of times a salaried person has willingly worked less than a full 40 hour work week.. that just doesn’t fly here. I will concede that we get more holidays though.

    #427554

    geedeck
    Participant

    I work for the state. Our staff are all about 10-25% underpaid compared the market median.

    #427555

    Mr. Peabody
    Member

    WI is rallying against their Governor’s attempts to shut down the public employees unions, with a little help from the Packers: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/15/packers-support-workers/

    #427556

    thepiece
    Participant

    [quote][i]
    gramarye….
    I’d also be curious as to whether there was any control for average hours worked during the course of a given month/year. Not only do government workers get several more holidays than the private sector, but most aren’t at the office at 6:00, let alone 9:00.[/i][/quote]

    Again you can’t apply such simplistic generalizations to all public sector employees. Is their a parks and rec worker or secretary who works 40 hours a week, yes…there’s also the young college faculty member at a public university, administrator or senior staffer pulling 60+ hours a week, and a teacher or police detective who works 50 or more hours a week.
    Also, someone working from 9 to 6pm everyday is still pulling a 40+ hour work week, I understand we are in a race to the bottom with workers rights and working conditions in this country, but I missed the memo that someone working 40 hours a week is a worthless slacker.

    #427557

    Antonio
    Member
    #427558

    Parker
    Participant

    WI is pushing, and their public employees are pushing back:

    #427559

    Parker
    Participant

    It’s very irritating that some do nothing but complain about government, then use every ounce of energy they have (well maybe just a lot) to make government a place people don’t want to work. Aside from the exposes on some isolated public abuses, there really aren’t any cushy public sector jobs where workers go to die. Those who want to eliminate most forms of government are the ones most often pushing these issues and take advantage of those few cases of abuse by portraying them as the rule. Besides, I thought we voted to create jobs?

    How are we to encourage kids to go into public service for others instead of only pursuing their own agendas? Before anyone makes this a point of debate – I have no problem with the private sector, they have a role in the economy, but we need good public service oriented people to work for the common good.

    #427560

    gramarye
    Participant

    We do need good people in public service. And, indeed, in most cases, we have them. I think that that will remain the case because the goal here is not to force public sector employees to accept compensation well below private market level; it is to get it down to par with the private sector, when you count in all the various benefits of both (including what are often significantly better retirement benefits in the public sector). I agree with the poster above that the relevant metric has to be the total life-of-employee cost of hiring someone, not just the base pay they get every other week.

    #427561

    chaptal
    Participant

    gramarye wrote >>
    We do need good people in public service. And, indeed, in most cases, we have them. I think that that will remain the case because the goal here is not to force public sector employees to accept compensation well below private market level; it is to get it down to par with the private sector, when you count in all the various benefits of both (including what are often significantly better retirement benefits in the public sector). I agree with the poster above that the relevant metric has to be the total life-of-employee cost of hiring someone, not just the base pay they get every other week.

    Instead of working to reduce the wage of the public worker, what is wrong with raising the wage of the private worker?

    #427562

    Parker
    Participant

    chaptal wrote >>

    gramarye wrote >>
    We do need good people in public service. And, indeed, in most cases, we have them. I think that that will remain the case because the goal here is not to force public sector employees to accept compensation well below private market level; it is to get it down to par with the private sector, when you count in all the various benefits of both (including what are often significantly better retirement benefits in the public sector). I agree with the poster above that the relevant metric has to be the total life-of-employee cost of hiring someone, not just the base pay they get every other week.

    Isstead of working to reduce the wage of the public worker, what is wrong with raising the wage of the private worker?

    I agree very much. But that is an inherent problem in the way many leaders of our private sector think today. “More work for less pay”, or increasing worker efficiency ratios is the mantra, backed by the conflicting mantra of “you have to pay for good talent”, which unfortunately failed in many sectors in 2008.

    So today we have the largest gulf between executives and labor in the developed world. That’s a problem. It’s not that the public sector has made egregious gains in pay, it’s that many private sector wages have not kept pace with the times.

    #427563

    joev
    Participant

    I wouldn’t mind if senority raises/step increases went away if merit raises were more competitive with private standards. Some public jobs pay better than private, but as I think Hugh said, for professional people, the pay is undoubtledly less. People go into these jobs because they’re public service minded.

    #427564

    howatzer
    Participant

    Two words: Job Security.

    Most of those who work for the government don’t spend each night worrying about whether or not their company is going to go under or move overseas.

    In our system, reward tends to scale with risk, so lower compensation is commensurate with the lower risk inherent in working for the state.

    This is how Universities’ are able to hire law and business professors – i.e. those wiling to take a huge pay cut for the stability of tenure.

    This is also why government workers aren’t known for their entrepreneurialism.

    #427565

    manticore33
    Participant

    When I worked for Child Support Enforcement in Delaware County, the local commissioners would pay for comparison studies. Typically, for the level of responsibilities for the job that we were performing in the CSEA, the private sector earned another $3.00 per hour. Subsequently, when I left in 2008, the HHS has increased job responsibilities, no addition CSEA employees have been hired, and the county suspended pay raises.

    Public employees do not contribute to social security and are mandated to contribute to public retirement. The OPERS contributions are at 10% if I remember correctly.

    That said, I agree with Hugh. It depends on the time and scope. Starting out the pay is relatively low, especially for college graduates. It seems that those who have been there for many, many decades do quite nicely (especially when comparing earnings to education level).

    I do not regret leaving the public sector. Now, I work for a federal contractor earning more money and have my federal holidays. And my job entails helping federal agencies save money.

    #427566

    gramarye
    Participant

    chaptal wrote >>

    gramarye wrote >>
    We do need good people in public service. And, indeed, in most cases, we have them. I think that that will remain the case because the goal here is not to force public sector employees to accept compensation well below private market level; it is to get it down to par with the private sector, when you count in all the various benefits of both (including what are often significantly better retirement benefits in the public sector). I agree with the poster above that the relevant metric has to be the total life-of-employee cost of hiring someone, not just the base pay they get every other week.

    Instead of working to reduce the wage of the public worker, what is wrong with raising the wage of the private worker?

    How exactly do you propose to do that? If you’re talking about legislation to try to force private employers to pay more, then the same thing is wrong with that that is wrong with all other regulations that increase the cost of hiring workers: if you make it more expensive to hire workers one through four, then worker number five is likely never to be hired. Worker number four might also be fired if the new legislatively-enforced higher wage is more than the work that worker performs is worth.

    Parker wrote:

    I agree very much. But that is an inherent problem in the way many leaders of our private sector think today. “More work for less pay”, or increasing worker efficiency ratios is the mantra, backed by the conflicting mantra of “you have to pay for good talent”, which unfortunately failed in many sectors in 2008.

    So you would prefer the goal shift to “more pay for less work?” That does indeed appear to be the position of many unions, public and private, which is one reason that their image has suffered so much and why so many private employers have shuttered so many union workplaces over the years and shifted to places with less stifling labor and employment laws.

    And you do indeed have to pay for good talent, and the events of 2008 showed that many firms, especially in the financial sector, were paying too much for not enough talent. That itself isn’t a problem; the problem was that those firms were insulated from the consequences of their actions, which should have forced many more of them into bankruptcy (and, likely, liquidation) than actually happened. Because of government intervention, they were able to avoid the fate of those employers who continued to pay too much for union workers for far too long while other companies enjoyed the competitive benefits of paying more market-level wages for labor: Delphi, Dana, and many other manufacturers have been in bankruptcy court in the past decade. The principle is the same, though, even if the government chooses to short-circuit it by putting the taxpayer on the hook for the losses rather than the company alone and its shareholders and creditors: if you pay too much and produce too little, you simply don’t succeed. Thus “more work for less pay” is indeed the most productive principle on which to operate an economy. It’s why China and India have made such massive strides in the past two decades (the past four, for China).

    #427567

    coolbuckeye
    Participant

    What is the problem with advocating for fair pay? Are you saying that we should emulate the china/India model and compete by paying employees less than a living wage?

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