Monday, December 6, 2010

The Devil Is In The Details Of A Comparison

So, the Republicans had been making a stink about the push for the state legislature to have a special session to pass the union contracts. Republican law makers have been falsely claiming not to know what was in them. They did so to follow and enhance the misleading talking point that the state workers is the cause of all of the state's economic woes. In reality, this is just a front as they build up for a war as they plan to try to bust up all of the state's unions, public and private alike.

In their task of promoting Republican ideals, the MacIver Institute did the dirty deed of posting the commonly available contract between AFSCME and the state. Right wingers around the state cheered this as some sort of blatant journalism (the right does consider propaganda to be the equivalent of journalism - but that is for another website to handle).

The latest winger to cheer this action is Jo Egelhoff at She cites Patti Wenzel for the evil, diabolical details of the contract:
The documents unveiled some changes which Doyle failed to share. As for overtime, the decision as to how overtime will be paid to employees, either at time-and-a-half in cash, or compensatory time or a combination thereof, is moved from the employer (the state, or the taxpayers) to the employees.

…. Another perk for employees could be a sick pay conversion. The proposed contract would allow retirees to convert any unused sick leave at retirement at the highest pay rate earned in state service — not what they were being paid at the time they stopped working. The same conversion rate could be used when determining sick leave for a work-related injury or disease.

More pay can be had if an employee is injured on the job and needs to be treated at a hospital. If they are released from the hospital after the regular shift ended, they can receive up to 2 hours of straight time pay…
Egads, those state workers and Governor Doyle are dastardly villians, aren't they?

But, wait a minute, those terms look awfully familiar...

Milwaukee County workers are currently without a contract. By the rules, that means that Milwaukee County and the unions operate under the old contract, the one that Scott Walker signed off in 2006, complete with the signing bonus.

Under that contract, workers have the right to chose between taking compensation time off sometime in the next six months of accruing that time or taking it at time and a half pay. Over the last year or so, workers have been unofficially encouraged to take the pay, since there is simply not enough staff left to do the work with furloughs and vacations figured in. This will only become more so when the wave of retirees come at the beginning of next year.

The sick pay clause is the same as it currently is for the older workers. For workers with 15 years or less, that changes. But those changes were put into effect long before Walker became county executive, so he can't even take credit for that.

Likewise, if a county worker is injured on the job, and has to go to the ER for treatment, the time they are there is considered overtime, unless it becomes a long term issue, when workman's comp takes over.

So if these things are just now being added to the contracts for state workers, it means that Governor Doyle has done a lot more at holding the workers' collective feet to the fire than Walker has.

Scott Walker is one of the best at bringing the show on, I will not deny them that. I am sure there will be some great showmanship coming from the governor's office as he stomps and shouts about the workers.

But at the end of the day, when all the smoke clears and the mirrors are taken down, I think that there are going to be many disappointed Republicans and TEA Partiers.

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