Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has an excellent OpEd in the Washington Post today pointing out something that should be obvious to anyone paying attention to the reform bill in Wisconsin. Which is, even after the reform bill has been signed, Wisconsin public unions enjoy better benefits and more collective bargaining rights than federal employees.*
Imagine the outrage if government workers did not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. Consider the massive protests that would be staged by labor leaders all across the country.
Think I’m talking about Wisconsin? No, I’m talking about the federal government.
Contrary to what the Obama administration would lead you to believe, most employees of the federal government do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. That means the budget reform plan we signed into law in Wisconsin on Friday is more generous than what President Obama offers federal employees.
Our reform plan calls for a 5.8 percent pension contribution from government workers, including myself, and a 12.6 percent health insurance premium payment. Both are well below what middle-class, private-sector workers pay. Federal workers, however, pay an average of 28 percent of health insurance costs.
It’s enough to make you wonder why there are no protesters circling the White House.
Of course these numbers will be meaningless to Walker’s opponents who are determined to turn the governor into the left’s boogeyman-of-the-moment (since John Boehner is just too darned emotional to inspire the public to really, really hate him).
Some have questioned the need to reform collective bargaining. After all, they say, the union bosses in Washington said publicly that their workers were ready to pay a little bit more for their benefits. But the truth is that as the national union bosses were saying one thing, their locals were doing something entirely different. Over the past several weeks, local unions across Wisconsin have pursued contracts without new pension or health insurance contributions. Some have even pushed through pay increases.
Their actions leave one wondering how tone-deaf and out of touch union bosses are with what’s happening in the private sector. Even the president instituted a pay freeze on government workers this year, something he was able to do only because federal employees enjoy fewer collective bargaining rights than do Wisconsin workers — even with our recent reforms.
Beyond balancing budgets, our reforms give schools — as well as state and local governments — the tools to improve their operations. We allow them to reward merit and performance instead of facing the barriers of collective bargaining that all too often block innovation and reform. Because of our reforms, government will become more efficient and effective for the people.
Heaven forfend! Pay for performance? Now I know he’s crazy. What kind of successful operation actually rewards people for succeeding? Crazy talk…
All kidding aside, it seems that Scott Walker is not the only governor that believes that tenure, collective bargaining rights and the general lack of accountability for poor performance are hurting the education system.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida public school teachers would lose job security but could make more money if their students do well on standardized tests under a trailblazing bill that went to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday after a party-line vote in the Republican-controlled state House.
The legislation will establish a statewide teacher evaluation and merit pay system in 2014 and do away with tenure for new teachers hired after July 1 this year. It also chips away at teachers’ due process and collective bargaining rights.
Oddly enough I have not heard or seen the same level of vitriol directed at the governor or legislators in Florida. I guess the left only has room for one evil genius at a time.