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Minnesota Governor Urges Lawmakers To Cut Benefits For Government Union Employees

December 15, 2010 by  

Minnesota governor urges lawmakers to cut benefits for government union employeesMinnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has called on Congress to join his effort in reducing benefit packages for government employees.

According to FOX News, Pawlenty urged other lawmakers to cut future pension plans for government unions. He claimed that his state will save approximately $2 billion because of a reduction in benefits. He warned that the United States will face a combined $3 trillion in unfunded benefit liabilities if they do not stop the "silent coup" from government-employee unions.

"You have public employees making more than their private-sector counterparts. They used to be under-benefited and underpaid. Now they're both over-benefited and overpaid," Pawlenty, a Republican, told the news source. "Their post-retirement benefits and salaries and pensions are really one of the driving forces of the financial troubles of cities and counties and school districts and states all across this country, and it needs to stop."

Pawlenty, who will leave office next month and has been rumored as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2012, has praised President Barack Obama for proposing a two-year freeze on Federal employee wages. In a column for The Wall Street Journal, Pawlenty said that employees in the public sector should not have defined benefit plans, but instead should have systems like the 401(k), which is subject to the stock market's performance.

John Gage, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said that Obama's pay freeze is a "superficial panic reaction" that will do little to reduce the deficit. During a press conference last week, Gage said that the freeze will negatively affect low-income employees, such as nursing assistants and border patrol agents. 

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  • Mick

    The more federal employees, the less liberty

  • Robin from Arcadia, IN

    Perhaps they would prefer to have their salaries reduced to what the public sector makes? It’s been 3 years since I’ve had a raise! But with the economy being what it is, I’m grateful to have a job. Too much complaining going on!

    • Mick

      Robin from Arcadia, IN says:
      December 15, 2010 at 7:31 am
      Perhaps they would prefer to have their salaries reduced to what the public sector makes? It’s been 3 years since I’ve had a raise! But with the economy being what it is, I’m grateful to have a job. Too much complaining going on!

      ************************8
      Robin,,,the true UNION mentality doesn’t reason that way.
      In 1996 the boeing employees making 24$ an hour went on strike for 99 days for more pay and benefits, you’re talking 24 bucks an hour in 96 and it still wasn’t enough, I have never made more than 14 bucks an hour in my whole life and still manage to pay off my house and vehicles…People have to learn to make due or we’re all going down………..

      • Polski

        The Boeing CEO makes $16 million above table, God only knows how much under the table. The union employees are the ONLY reason that Boeing hasn’t gone down the tubes, and there is some question whether they will make it to their 100th anniversary in 2016.

        How about the Governor having his salary reduced to $1 a year? How about all the US Congress have their salaries reduced to $1 a year, and their pensions changed to be covered by Social Security, and their glamorous present pension be CANCELLED? How about having the Social Security funds each year being used like it was supposed to be and NOT put into the general fund?

        • Mick

          Polski…
          You seem to favor the two wrong make a right saying,,,,And if you think only unions employees can keep a company going you’re damn well mistakimg, the unions are one of the best reason why we’re loosing so many jobs overseas……

        • Jana

          Polski,
          Sorry, but i don’t buy that about the unions are the only reason they haven’t gone down the tubes. Someone has been feeding you too much baloney.

        • dhellew2

          Unions in government are the reason we have an economic problem. Government employees make twice what private sector workers make. Union employees have no say in what union bosses do with their money, most of which goes into their pocket or lobbying to get more into their pocket.

          Any union employee that believes the union is there for their benefit is a fool. When the union bosses says go on strike you go on strike, but the bosses keep getting their million dollar salaries and benefits.

          Contrary to what union employees are brainwashed to believe, businesses cannot continue to pay union wages and continue to provide employment.

          Did you ever stop to consider what a million dollar salary really means compared to employee expense? The treasurers report for the postal service shows that employees get 13.8 BILLION annually. If you cut the CEO’s salary in half it would not be enough to hire 4-people. Did you know that the lowest paid University CEO (a government employee) makes over $600,000 per year?

          Did you know that the average teacher salary for actual hours worked is over $50 per hour plus benefits?

          About those benefits for government workers is more than double their salary and they never paid one dime into their retirement. Their pay is taxes; deductions from their pay for ‘taxes and retirement including social security’ is still taxes. They make no contribution, their retirement is unfunded.

        • Jerry C

          I agree. The wife works for the social security department and could make more money outside of the government doing the same thing. The Federal Employees are not the ones we should be freezing wages on or eliminating benefits from. Let’s look at our Governors, appointed judges and our senators and representatives. It use to be a privilege to serve our country. Now it’s a money making opportunity.

          • Lyla

            Yeah. And take away those million dollar + big bank bonuses.

  • s c

    Hot dang! Minnesota has a governor who knows the difference between spit and shinola. Any politician who caters to a union is a politician who should be neutered and then tossed out of the country.
    An old expression that says where there’s smoke there’s fire.
    It doesn’t specifically refer to unions, but the principle fits. “Thanks” to unions, Detroit will be hard-pressed to compete and survive (cars, trucks, vans, etc.). What price survival, people?
    As for Minnesota’s governor, go get ‘em! An old professor of mine said that most union jobs (based in Detroit) can be done by trained chimps. It seems he may have been ahead of his time in making that conclusion. At least chimps aren’t organized, and they don’t see themselves as God’s gift to manufacturing – and chimps don’t spend years acting like like philosophical robots dedicated to the idea that Lenin and Marx had every solution for this world’s economic problems.

  • patrick

    I was an employee for The City of Minneapolis and let me tell all you folks, the unions and the benefits and salary package gov’t employees get is a scam and a crime!!! Someone should investigate how the Unions got such a stronghold on Gov’t jobs. My guess is that the investigation wil discover that another reason the Unions have such control of gov’t jobs is because the Liberal Democrats also have total control of the State of Minnesota and support the Unions. How much under table payoff’s have occured? One can only guess but just look at the current idiot in the White House and how he has been paying back the Unions for their support. Yes taxpayers, you need to demand an investigation into Union control and the close ties to all the liberal democrats in Minnesota!!!!

    • Mick

      Ohhhh!! Patrick,,,how so right you are……..
      All of the riots you see in France, greece and the rest of Europe are the direct result of Union control, they burn and destroy everything in their path hurting the honest workers in the process and call it fair treatment. the SOB’s work 35 hours a week and in general get 5 weeks paid vacations but it’s not enough,they are destroying Europe and if we let them they will destroy the U.S.,

  • Richie

    The reduction of the pay and benefits packages will bring the government employees closer inline with the private sector, but will take a long time to accomplish to reduce 30-50%. A tremendous savings can be realized if all government employees work until 62 years like the private sector. They now retire at 55-57 years of age!!!!???? Why?

    • ValDM

      There will be no reduction in pay for fed workers. The only thing they won’t be getting is their COLA. They will continue to receive their step increases. Sound like a pay freeze to you?

  • patrick

    What a joke Minnesota is!!! Taxpayers in Minnesota better watch their next Gov. Dayton… the worst liberal democrat in America. OK here are a few examples of the idiots that run Minnesota: 35W bridge collapse, look at liberal democrat Oberstar?, Metrodome collapse- what idiot’s would ever think of bldg. an inflatable dome in an area with known winter snow falls and storms? How about this one?: Anew bus stop in the middle of redone 35W freeway leading into Minneapolis? The cost of $ 5 million dollars for a concrete structure to hold people waiting for a bus? What is this insanity? These are just a few major problems in Minnesota and they will continue to bankrup Minnesota as long as the Liberal democrats are allowed to control Minnesota;s finances!!! Oh, investigate all the disasters and you will find corruption at all levels and payoff’s to Unions and politicans to hire engineers and contractors that don’t know how to build bridges or Dome’s or roads and etc etc.

    • eddie47d

      Sounds like you took Minnesota for a ride with your lawsuit. You get laid off and demand big restitution from the government you loath? Maybe you are the problem. Besides,when that bridge collapsed a Republican was Governor. I would say you are full of it!

  • Mick

    patrick says:
    December 15, 2010 at 8:36 am
    Oh, investigate all the disasters and you will find corruption at all levels and payoff’s to Unions and politicans to hire engineers and contractors that don’t know how to build bridges or Dome’s or roads and etc etc.

    **********************************
    CONTRACTOR SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE QUALITY OF THE WORK…
    THE CONTRACTS SHOULD READ THAT IN CASE OF DEFECT THE CONTRACTOR WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST OF THE REPAIR UNLESS CAUSED BY A FORCE OF NATURE, YOU WOULD SEE HOW FAST THE QUALITY WOULD SHOOT UP OF COURSE IT WOULD PUT A WRENCH IN THE UNION SPOKES FOR THEIR JOB SECURITY CROOKED MODUS OPERANDI……..

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Mick,
      i thought all concrete poured had to have core samples drilled and saved for cases like the bridge collaps. If substandard crete was poured, the contractor would still be held responsible and very well should be!

  • patrick

    After i brought my law suit against The City of Minneapolis when they eliminated my job, i acted as my own attorney, I kicked the City’s butt. Since the City has no accountibilty and they have no budget restrait because when they need money they raise taxes, the City appealed the Judges decision. Once again I beat the City. The next step for an appeal would have been for the City to go to the Supreme court. We did settle in my favor. So after this moral defeat, I thought of running for Mayor of Minneapolis. My platform was going to be: Starting at the top, I would cut 50% of employees citywide, I would eliminate all Unions, I would demand accountability in every dollar spent or budgeted, I would reform the entire salary and benefit package so taxpayers are not paying for every dollar employees are entitled to, I would stop the benefit whereas employees can bank their sick time and vacation days- some employees retire with thousands and thousands of benefit dollars, i would cancel every single Union contract along with eliminating all Union associations, this would be my faze one action. Yes it’s true folks, when you are driving along the streets of Minneapolis and you notice a City crew of street workers, what do you see? You see 7 employees standing around resting on their shovels joking around and maybe 1 worker is actually doinf some shoveling… wasted taxpayers money day after day after day!!!! It has to change and must be stopped now!!!

    • Mick

      patrick…THAT WOULD BE A HELL OF A GOOD START FOR AMERICA TO REGAIN THE WONDERFUL WORLD STATUS IT HAD IN THE PAST WHICH MADE IT THE STRONGEST COUNTRY AND BEST IN THE WORLD.i WOULD VOTE FOR YOU…….

  • FlaJim

    There might have been a justification for offering generous benefit packages, particularly pensions, for long-serving public employees decades ago when they earned much less than those in the private sector but those days are long gone.

    Then there are the double dippers who have worked just long enough with two different government agencies to qualify for generous pension benefits.

    We can’t afford this insanity and now it’s come time to pay up and the coffers are empty.

  • Ain’t Gona Happen

    As a retired federal government executive, I had to deal with the federal union. The American Federation of Government Workers is a toothless organization.They do not have collective bargaining power! Their entire role is mediation over minor issues like shift changes, overtime/holiday worker selection and unfair labor practices which, by the way, are covered under federal labor laws. Only 4-5 % of wage grade employees are members. Precious few administrative workers belong.
    During my 35 years of employment I cannot recall anything significanr the AFGE accomplished.

    • ValDM

      In case you haven’t been looking recently, you need to check out how much gutting has been done to federal laws regarding wage and hour and “fair” and “unfair” labor practices. Go to federal wage and hour website and see for yourself.

  • oldtimeyman

    Unions are a curse on America.

    The reason Detroit is dying (and with it most of the state of Michigan) is unions. The main reason the south is thriving is Right To Work legislation which is designed to keep the unions out.

    My ex-wife’s uncle worked as a welder in the main Oldsmobile assembly plant making – are you ready for this – $26 an hour in the early ’70s. He got his pink slip when the plant automated and drew his full salary for TWO YEARS. Multiply that by all the thousands of workers affected and you have an idea why it costs $30,000 for a car and why the automakers moved south.

    Now, to the point of the story. Why are government workers unionized in the first place? Federal Civil Service law helps protect their jobs. They don’t need a union to do that. Uncle Jingles makes sure they have adequate medical care and retirement so there is no need for a union for that. Union organizers are little more than thugs conducting legal blackmail against corporations and governments under the color of law.

    The entire federal civil service establishment needs to be overhauled. The unions need to be legislated out of politics and civil service and it can be done. Contrary to popular belief, federal and other “protected” workers can be fired for virtually anything including: insubordination, failure to perform their job, poor job performance and so on. The question is, why aren’t they fired more often.

    The Hatch Act of 1939 needs to be enforced, particularly in its provision forbidding federal employees from membership in “any political organization which advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government.” During the McCarthy Era, this designation was interpreted to include communist and LABOR organizations.

    Among the reasons the Hatch Act was enacted was to prevent misuse of federal funds by WPA (Works Progressive Administration) staff members and local DEMOCRATIC PARTY politicians during the congressional elections of 1938.

    The Act was sponsored by Senator Carl Hatch following disclosures that WPA officials were in fact using their positions to WIN VOTES FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

    Friends, this is political corruption at its worst, so, enforce the Hatch Act and boot the unions out of government employee labor relations. The law is already there, just enforce it.

    • Teresa

      I agree totally. First you have to realize w/o the unions the left will not be able to socialize the nation and destroy our Constitution, which is btw the President and Holders plan and if anyone does not see this they are blind. I will add though that once the economy does bottom out our 401k will be taken over, seized by the government and nothing we can do about it.

    • Mick

      BRAVO oldtimeyman,,,,WE NEED TO GO BACK TO THE DAYS WHEN PEOPLE WHERE ACTUALLY PROUD TO WORK AND DOING A GREAT JOB, THIS UNION MEDIOCRITY HAS DEMINISH PRIDE BUT YET DEMANDS RESPECT…IN THEIR DREAMS……………

      • http://?? Joe H.

        mick,
        i agree! I used to work for a short run stamping outfit. when we got jobs from other companies they usually had tolerance ranges on the thickness of the parts. we would get stock in for a job that had a tolerance of +/- .005 and the material would be over by .002 and they would say close enough, run it at least we will make the contract deadline and if they reject them we have time to get better stock in!! What ever happened to pride in a job well done??? what ever happened to the customer is always right??
        Here’s hoping that PRIDE comes back to the United States!!!!

    • Barney Murrell

      To oldtimeyman (posted Dec. 15, 2010 @ 9.35)

      You people are victims of your own ignorance. Here is the economic condition of everyone below the top 20% of taxpayers – and all caused by foolish people voting for conservatives:

      1989 – 2004 Who has the Wealth

      Conservative Republican plutocrats must be laughing over their Dom Perignon as they devise new ways to get the gold while giving average blue-collar conservative Republicans, who voted to allow it, the shaft.

      Between 1989 and 2004 the following Federal Reserve Board bulletin, “Changes in distribution of wealth 1989-2004 (FRB) p11, p29-30,” (http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/oss/oss2/papers/concentration.2004.5.pdf) reports that American wealth was divided, and changed, as follows:
      (1) Top 1% own 29.5% of all assets (+2.4)
      (1) Top 10% own 63.1% of all assets (+1.1)
      (2) Top 1% own 70.2% of all bonds (+18.4)
      (2) Top 10% own 97% of all bonds (+5.1)
      (3) Top 1% own 50.9% of all stocks (+9.6)
      (3) Top 10% have 89.2% of all stocks (+6.4)
      (4) Top 1% own 62.3% of all business (+8.8)
      (4) Top 10% own 90.4% of all business (-0.4)
      (5) Bottom 90% owe 72.8% of all debt (-2.1)
      (6) Bottom 50% have 2.5% of U.S. net worth (-.05%)

  • http://cox tom

    i am retired and on ss and i don`t get a raise or a coast of living raise. how would people like that your getting more money then you are worth, this goes for all goverment workers take it ore leave it get a job in the private sector see what you think of that

  • jopa

    The last company I worked for was non-union and they paid excellant wages to the hourly employees not to mention benefits galore depending on plans you chose from.This was not just out of the kindness of their hearts but as a way to keep the unions out.So in a sense they were a union shop that kept up to par with the United Auto Workers union.The moral is even non-union shops benefit from unions by the way of wages, safety, and security.

    • eddie47d

      So true Jopa. I do believe though that all wages should be subject to negotiations in good times and in bad times. Everyone should benefit or sacrifice depending on the economy. UPS is a private corporation yet they make $4.00 an hour more than employees at USPS. The work is somewhat comparable so there is alot of smoke being blown that government employees make so much more than private employees. Also, for the love of me none of these union bashers go after the outrageous salaries that executives make. During the downturn they increased their salaries by 7% while the average worker barely broke even. Some had to give up benefits and even their jobs to support the arrogance of corporates. America’s system is broken but it can’t all be put on the backs of blaming unions.

    • thinking

      Why jopa would you say, because of the union? Were you a manager or did you determine pay and benefits? This company could not have been in Michigan or any union state. Unless you beleive that unions are good. I worked in a union and they keep jobs for the lazy and deter hard workers from advancement. They charge fees and use them to pay their management wages and for paying off politicians. Unions do have the power to distroy business and force companies to move.

  • chuckb

    the beat way is shut down the department of energy, dept. of education and the environmental prot. agency. turn these concerns back to the states. remove the service employees unions from the state governments. then watch the country prosper. unions should not be part of government employment or state. the day of the union is long gone, it is now nothing but a corrupt part of politics. drain washington d.c. of the featherbedders. at the same time retire barry and his wife.

    • 45caliber

      I wouldn’t even stop with those agencies. We really need very few of what we have and we could reduce those by about 80% as well.

  • Pegasus66

    Throughout history there has been an off and on need for unions. Business has been abusive and only the union was able to get the executives to see reason (The Battle of the Overpass at Ford, led by the legendary boss, Walter Reuther – - and it was bloody.) But power corrupts, mainly the union bosses. They are elected by the members and just like politicians demand more and more to “earn” those votes. Before you know it, good management practices and production procedures become impossible because the now spoiled unions don’t want to cooperate. Costs go up and the product loses competitiveness. Look at what Toyota and Honda were able to do to the Detroit Three.

    When I was a kid, railroads were big. So was the railroad union. Featherbedding was the big issue. As technology allowed greater productivity per employee, fewer employees were needed – - but you couldn’t fire the extra employees; the company had to carry them until they retired. Now it is teachers and postal workers who can’t be fired and spend their days on full pay reading books in “special rooms”. . . all because of unions.

    When unions go out on strike, they never make up the wages lost during the down time. Only the bosses get fat. If a worker does not comply they face downright viscious reprisals. Join a union and you lose your feedom as an individual – - it becomes a hive mentality.

    Back to the government unions, having been a government worker at one point, I never got the idea I was suffering unfair treatment or pay. The move to unionize government workers lies in organizing capture of votes – - the greatest reason these workers should not have unions.

    Not only should various federal departments be shut down (Education and Energy)but a FREEZE should be put on all federal hiring (except active military)The number of government employees would shrink over time in a humane manner, AND, choices would have to be made as to what actually needs doing.

    • 45caliber

      You stated that it becomes a “hive” mentality. Actually I believe it becomes a Syndicate or Mafia mentality – particularly since many of the present unions were controlled by those crime groups at one time or another. They learned all their present tactics (including murder) from the two crime groups.

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Pegasus66,
      Actually it even gets worse. In 1975 I met a man from the Tennessee Vally authority who told me when I graduated from college to come down to see him and he would see to it that i got hired. I took in a job to class to weld for him. when I got down th Tennessee, I was told that the rail road was on strike and that the Tennessee Valley Authority had an agreement with the rail road Union that they would hire all RR employees on strike and the RR would hire all strikers from TVA! now why in the name of hell would a company agree to that??? One of the levers that the company has on a striker is the fact that they can’t afford to be on strike for long. with this agreement, they could afford to stay on strike indefinately!!

  • libra

    Much as all of us would like to see the corrupt unions gone–it may be impossible since obama has packed the natl labor relations boards with marxists. the states and federal govt need to streamlined–get rid of needless bureaus, departments and agencies and unions. the states need to do the same. the u.s.postal service needs to go completely private so they can then go quietly bankrupt and let private companies do a better job. why can’t the federal and state employees provide for teir own retirements as do private sector employees. get rid of the rubber rooms where employees unfit to do their jobs sit all day reading books and drawing full pay and benefits. real estate taxes are becoming prohibitive as these state and local employees are paid exorbitant salaries and perks. it is criminal to tax retired folks out of their family homes.

    • 45caliber

      I agree that we need to streamline government. I believe that is one of the reasons the unions want to represent the government workers – they can insist we can’t cut them back. But we certainly can’t afford to pay their wages either. I’m expecting the government workers here to do the same as the Greeks did when we are forced to do it anyway.

  • 45caliber

    This must be done at both state and national levels if we ever expect to get out of debt. The union push to force all police and firemen to join a union must be stopped. We don’t need them out on strike and we can’t afford all the stuff the unions want.

  • chuckb

    we should start at the national level, first eliminate the dept. of energy, the dept. of education and the environmental protection agency.
    then eliminate all government unions. the states can control their own education by removing the teachers union, let them go on strike, let them walk the picket line, in the meantime they can fill the vacancy with non-union teachers and set standards the unions have refused. pay will be based on proficiency and tenure will be out the window.
    the politicians have feared the unions, that’s why nothing has been done and why the schools are failing.
    this will be contrary to the progressive (communist) thinking and will interrupt their brainwashing in the school and college.

  • jopa

    Thinking: What you say is also true about unions and I did work for union shops im Michigan.A few months in the UAW, and several years in the Steelworkers, and the Woodworkers unions.Lived in Hazel Park for a few months, worked in Wixom and then went back to the UP.Lived my first forty years in Mi.before moving East.I worked with what everyone calls big Pharma for twenty years up to my retirement.Our company was non-union but we kept in step with the other giants that were union.I was considered an hourly salaried employee where in we negotiated somewhat like a union without the dues.

  • jopa

    Thinking; You sounded so miserable working in that union shop why didn’t you leave?I know there were non-union shops all over southern Michigan.

  • http://gunner689 gunner689

    There was a statistic that came out during the Clinton Admin. that stated that there were more people working for gvt. than were working in manufacturing in the US. That is really scary when you think about it. It was mfg. that built our great nation, our middle class, and the standard of living we enjoy. Most gvt. jobs are regulatory, paper pushing, or bean counting. What kind of nation can survive with that as it’s major industry. Not building things; just paper shuffling. If you have any doubt about the size of gvt. drive to D.C. during rush hour and see the 15 – 20 mile traffic jams of gvt. workers going to or coming home from work. Most State gvts. are just smaller versions of Big Brother.

  • loriwy

    To bad they dont enforce the Hatch act. Or maybe treason would be a start. Here’s a link that shows AFL-CIO union leader in a meeting with global socialist about a global tax.
    http://www.blip.tv/file/4074391

  • loriwy

    To bad they dont enforce the hatch act. Treason could also be a word for it. Here’s a union leader in a socialist meeting for global tax.
    http://www.blip.tv/file/4074391

    • http://gunner689 gunner689

      The charge of Treason dissapeared with the advent of Jane Hanoi Fonda.

  • retired

    I am a retired federal worker. I was in management when I retired. I was in the union before that. Best training for management. I was lucky. Most union officials cooperated with me for the benefit of the employees. Other management people called me pro union. I corrected them saying I am pro employee. The bottom line was getting the job done and done right. As I said I was lucky. I don’t even remember the last increase I recieved on my retirement.

  • Susan

    I worked in shop that was open shop.I joined the union for a short while the meetings were held in a bar. Needless to say the leaders of the union were drinking and smoking off the dues I and others put in. I quit the union and did not pay another cent. The next three positions I held had no union and We had great Christmas Parties and even got to take a little time off in the middle of the day to watch the Circus Train go by.(we worked next to the tracks)

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