#3-Our Christmas newsletter-The day I met God face-to-face in Ada, Michigan
Our Christmas newsletter for 2009

Are Michigan's public employees living in an alternative reality?

Starting with Detroit, cities in the state of Michigan are having trouble making their payrolls and paying their bills.  This has resulted in layoffs galore and severe cutbacks in services.

I've read and heard from right-wingers about how public employees in our state have a sweet deal when it comes to what they're being paid and the fringe benefits they receive.  It's easy to shake that rhetoric off as being partisan.

Then this morning I read this article in the left-leaning and Bristish magazine, the Economist, titled, "Public-sector unions-Welcome to the real world."  It paints a picture that compares them to private sector employees in this country.  It depicts public employees as being spoiled and having pay and benefits that are sending our cities into bankruptcy.  Some quotes from the story:

  • About the city of Detroit-"Few cities have such a sprawling workforce-50 bargaining units in all or so little money to pay for it.  But Detroit is not alone.  Most cities and states will collect only meagre revenues for the next year."
  • About public employees being unionized:  "Nevertheless, as private-sector unions have faded, public-sectors ones have thrived.  In 2008 37% of government workers were unionized, nearly five times the share in the private sectors, and the same share was was unionzed 25 years earlier."
  • About pay:  "Government employees earn 21 % more than privates ones and are 24% more likely to have access to health care."
  • About pensions:  "Only 21% of privates workers enjoy a difined-benefit pension which guarantees retirement income based on years of service and final salary.  But 84% of state and local workers still receive DB plans."