The Washington Post

Scott Walker cites federal pay to prove his point

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) (Michael P. King/AP)

“Imagine the outrage if government workers did not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits,” Walker wrote Thursday in The Washington Post’s op-ed section. “Consider the massive protests that would be staged by labor leaders all across the country. Think I’m talking about Wisconsin? No, I’m talking about the federal government.

“Contrary to what the Obama administration would lead you to believe, most employees of the federal government do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. That means the budget reform plan we signed into law in Wisconsin on Friday is more generous than what President Obama offers federal employees,” Walker wrote.

Walker’s plann requires state workers to make a 5.8 percent pension contribution and a 12.6 percent health insurance premium.

“Federal workers, however, pay an average of 28 percent of health insurance costs,” the governor said. “It’s enough to make you wonder why there are no protesters circling the White House.”

A fair point, but remember that people were drawn to the streets in opposition to Walker’s plan to curtail the collective bargaining rights of state workers.

The governor is correct however when it comes to feds. Just air traffic controllers, some postal employees and few others have collective bargaining rights for both wages and benefits. Transportation Security Administration screeners — who now have limited collective bargaining rights — are voting this month on whether to allow a union to represent them in negotiations with agency leadership.

And yes, health insurance premiums for federal employees continue to rise each year, a trend made worse by small pay increases, or none at all.

Walker initially used the federal-state comparisons last month after Obama made reference in a speech to public employees being “denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon.”

Agree or disagree with Walker’s comparisons? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: Obama to focus on economic issues during his trip to Brazil and announces plans to visit Ireland. This week’s events are testing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Did the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission misspeak? Valerie Jarrett holding off-the-record calls with business leaders.

More Blacks in South move to suburbs: Census figures also show that Hispanic population growth for the first time outpaced that of blacks and whites in most of the South, adding to the region’s racial and ethnic mix.

Arab uprisings cast harsh light on U.S. intelligence ties: The agency faces questions about whether close ties to controversial Arab leaders blinded it to undercurrents of dissent and may now damage America’s standing with emerging democratic governments.

Gates details high-level Defense job cuts: The Defense Department will cut hundreds of officer positions, top civilian executives and contractor jobs by the end of fiscal 2011.

FDA says it will monitor food from Japan: But the agency said any danger would primarily affect people living in that country, since they consume the bulk of local products.

Justice Department criticizes New Orleans police, vows to fix problems: It accused the force on Thursday of systematic misconduct that violated the Constitution

Postal Service closely tracking mail from Japan: It also warned Wednesday that deliveries to and from parts of the country may face delays in the coming weeks

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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