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April 18, 2014

They Know They Have It Too Good - Re: Federal Government Employees

As we reported earlier this week, federal government over pays its employees compared to the private sector by anywhere from 15-59% in wages (depending upon how you do the calculations) and by 44% when it comes to benefits. Using these figures, bringing the $200 billion the government spends on civilian employee compensation in line with the private sector could save the government hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years -- before cutting any programs or entitlements.

Now realizing that their largely unnoticed government largess should become a subject of national debate, a group of two dozen unions calling itself the Federal-Postal Coalition is lobbying Congress not to touch their objectively inflated wages and benefits. The group's pitch to Congress is that "federal and postal employees and their families are hardworking, middle-class Americans who are struggling during these tough times just like other Americans."

A review of the BLS and CBO figures demonstrates that these unions just have their facts wrong. No study has shown that federal and postal employees are anything but overpaid compared to their private sector counterparts. And of course, they ignore the millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans. Perhaps it's time those of us not represented by public sector unions should start asking the President and Congress why public servants are entitled to be paid more and get more expensive benefits than the public they serve.

© 2014 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP

About the Author

Scott J. Witlin, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Labor Law Attorney
Partner

Scott J. Witlin is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Barnes & Thornburg and a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Department and the Entertainment and Music Practice Group. Mr. Witlin handles traditional labor and employment matters, including arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, compliance with various guild and union agreements, and union organizing campaigns. He represents clients in the entertainment and broadcasting, video game manufacturing, retail, consumer and industrial products, and transportation industries.

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