Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Union Facts

Lately there has been an enormous amount of misinformation, agitation, and outright lies being spewed at unionized workers. The right-wing is trying to set union workers up as the scapegoats for any and all problems America faces.

Here is a compilation of unionized-worker facts which correct the anti-union propaganda being echoed throughout the media:

  • Overall, public workers total compensation is 3 percent less than their private sector counterparts.
  • "When state and local government employees are compared to private-sector workers with similar characteristics - particularly when workers are matched by age and education - state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts. The wage penalty for working in the state-and-local sector is particularly large for higher-wage workers," Schmitt notes.
  • For every $1.00 invested in state and localities, $1.41 is returned. A very good bang for the buck.
  • But with government being the same size (when adjusted for population) as it was in the 1970s and with unions representing only 10 percent of the total working population, to keep blaming these two entities as the cause of all our fiscal problems is an exercise in elaborate delusion.
  • State and local spending for public employee payrolls was 9 percent below the national average and ranked 33rd.
  • In 2008, Wisconsin was 8.2% below the national average in the number of state and local employees for every 1, 000 state residents, ranking 41st nationally.
  • When the number of full-time equivalent positions was measured relative to each state's 2009 population, Wisconsin was 4.4 percent below the national average and ranked 38th, meaning only 12 states had a leaner public sector.
  • Keith Bender and John Haywood have found, "Over the last 20 years, the earnings for state and local employees have generally declined relative to comparable private sector employees."
  • Dean Baker discovered, "The average pension for a public employee was $22,000 a year in 2007."
  • Lauren Smith found, "Federal workers earn 22 percent less than their counterparts in the privatge sector, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management."
  • "The federal workforce today as a proportion of the total U.S. workforce is about half what it was in 1970."
  • "In 1980, the ratio of top- to bottom-earners in Fortune 500 companies was 41 to 1. By 2007, it had risen to 411 to 1," Mr. Holland informs us.
  • Nancy Folbre adds, "Once adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage in the United States is lower than it was in 1967.

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