RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
At each contract bargaining that I have attended, the total compensation package is put on the table, salary and benefits, despite the misinformation the Governor provided at the City Club on Friday. Historically, state employee compensation has weighed more heavily towards benefits like health care and retirement contributions because health care provisions represent a greater value to the lower paid staff, some of whom qualify for food stamps, and retirement contributions represent a greater value overall. Somewhat akin to the allegory of the grasshopper and the ant, state employees have opted more responsibly for compensation that fits the bigger picture rather than immediate and short term gain. Now that most private workers have gone the other way, working at jobs with little or no health care coverage or retirement, state employees draw the envious glare of others and appear to have compensation that is out of line. It isn't, especially in Oregon where, again at contract bargaining, reviews of total compensation show the total mix to be in par with comparable jobs.
Let's be clear here that, while the Governor portrays this deceptively as a fairness issue by calling for changes in how health care and retirement contributions are made, that at the end of the day this represents a clawback, a further reduction in compensation for state employees, in addtion to the salary freezes, pay reductions forced changes to retirement benefits that have occurred during Kulongoski's tenure. It may be that state revenues force another round of givebacks but let us negotiate the mix and not in the public realm where misinformation, envy and plain spite are common.
State employees deliver value to Oregonians and after doing that spend their money in the communtiites where they live across the state. The loss of this multiplier effect will have every bit an adverse impact on the Oregon economy as any cutback from any private employer.
posted 2 years, 11 months ago
view in context