The Cost of Collective Bargaining
In 2009, the City of
"That's the (drivers') contract," said Transit and Parking Commission Chairman Gary Poulson.
Source: Wisconsin State Journal, 2/7/10
Milwaukee Public Schools attempted to drop from its health insurance plan coverage of Viagra, saving $786,000 per year, enough to pay up to a dozen teachers. The teachers union sued the district to regain coverage.
Source: ABC News, 8/12/10
Under the Green Bay School District’s collectively bargained Emeritus Program, teaches can retire and receive a year’s worth of salary for working only 30 days over a three year period. This is paid in addition to their already guaranteed pension and health care payouts.
Source: WLUK-TV, 3/3/11
Correctional Officer collective bargaining agreements allow officers a practice known as “sick leave stacking.” Officers can call in sick for a shift, receiving 8 hours of sick pay, and then are allowed to work the very next shift, earning time-and-a-half for overtime. This results in the officer receiving 2.5 times his or her rate of pay, while still only working 8 hours.
In part because of these practices, 13 correctional officers made more than $100,000 in 2009, despite earning base wages of less than $60,000 per year. The officers received an average of $66,000 in overtime pay for an average annual salary of more than $123,000 with the highest paid receiving $151,181.
Source: Department of Corrections
Milwaukee Public Schools teacher Megan Sampson was laid off less than one week after being named Outstanding First Year Teacher by the Wisconsin Council of English Teachers. She lost her job because the collective bargaining agreement requires layoffs to be made based on seniority rather than merit.
Informed that her union had rejected a lower-cost health care plan, that still would have required zero contribution from teachers, Sampson said, “Given the opportunity, of course I would switch to a different plan to save my job, or the jobs of 10 other teachers.
An updated review of a 2005 WPRI study concluded that school districts could save $68 million by switching from their expensive WEA Trust insurance plans to the state health insurance plan. Switching to a competitively priced private sector plan would save more money still. Collective bargaining agreements effectively give the teachers union a veto over any effort to change providers, however. As a result, WEA Trust insures about two-thirds of
Source: WPRI, WASB, ETF, DPI, WEA Trust
A Cedarburg school teacher was reinstated by an arbitrator after being fired for viewing pornography on a school computer. The school district ultimately succeeded in terminating the teacher only after taking the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court at great cost to the taxpayers.
In 2010, the state allowed paid time off for 805 employees to conduct union business. Total cost to the taxpayers was $433,333.
Source: Office of State Employment Relations
As a cost cutting measure,
Source: Racine Journal Times, 5/12/10
Some state employees, due to the nature of their positions, are required to carry pagers during off-duty hours in order to respond to emergency situations. Due to the collective bargaining agreements, these employees are compensated an extra five hours of pay each week, whether they are paged or not.
For an employee earning an average salary of $50,000 per year, this requirement can cost more than $6,000 in additional compensation.
Source: 2008-09 Agreement between the State of
Principal Steve Miller says, "He said, you know, this gives me a reason to get up in the morning to come and help these kids in the neighborhood."
But for a local union that represents crossing guards, it isn't that simple. Representatives didn't want to go on camera but say if a crossing guard is needed, then one should be officially hired by the city.
Source: WAOW-TV, 1/27/10