Yesterday I reported on a study from the Economic Policy Institute, a union supported organization, that claimed public workers in Minnesota were under-compensated in comparison to private sector workers, and I stated I found the methodology flawed. As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in my skepticism as the Center for Union Facts found similar flaws:
The argument that public workers are underpaid has been made in order to deflect attention from public pay in states that are experiencing multi-billion dollar budget gaps.
“The Economic Policy Institute study assumes that every state employee would otherwise be working in a large private sector business with 1,000 employees or more,” Berman explained. “Using this assumption is like saying that every computer tech in the state capital would qualify for a job at IBM – it’s bogus, and it creates a fictitious gap in wages that EcPI was more than happy to exploit for political gain. They also excluded full-time, part-year workers like certain teachers and recent retirees, another move that inflated that false deficit.”
Berman continued: “And that doesn’t even include other unaccounted for factors, like the ironclad job security in the public sector and the fact that most teachers’ full-time salary covers a work year only 36 weeks long. In times of economic distress, we all have to give a little back; public sector unions can’t hide behind the false pretense that their members are ‘underpaid’ any longer.”
You can read the entire takedown yourself (19 pg PDF), including how the AFL-CIO brags about union members getting paid more than non-union workers, the flawed assumptions of the EPI study, and how when those flaws are corrected they once again show public sector workers have the advantage in compensation than their private sector peers.
For me, this is not an issue of compensating public workers fairly, it is a matter of public unions posing a conflict of interest against the tax payers. They are now trying to use their influence and resources to convince the people that they are victims of a terrible, mean-spirited employer – We the People. I, for one, don’t believe the unions on this point. The unions are squealing because it is not, in fact, public employees who are under fire here, but the unions themselves. Instead of finding ways to work with government in these austere times, they are actively engaging in distortions so as to maintain the status quo. It’s understandable that the unions are interested in self-preservation, but they would be better served if they looked at how they could reform themselves instead of furthering the unsustainable status quo they helped create.