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Monday, August 27, 2012

"Give Away the Store"

Posted by on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Sooooo... in 2008, state employees ended up getting no raise at all. In 2010, state employees actually took a 3 percent pay cut while absorbing a 25 percent increase in their share of their health insurance premiums. But in the 2012 contract negotiations, by golly, this is finally the year that "Gov. Chris Gregoire and the representatives of the state ... cannot give away the store."

I do not think that phrase means what the Seattle Times editorial board thinks it means.


Comments (21) RSS

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Catalina Vel-DuRay 1
Having just gotten back from a visit to The Old Home Place, I was appalled to see that the Omaha World Herald is about the same size as the Seattle Times - and that the Council Bluffs Nonpariel has a better editorial page.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 27, 2012 at 9:36 PM · Report this
Had a door-to-door person try to convince me today to "support the Times so we don't lose it like we did the P-I."

Posted by dirge on August 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM · Report this
Keep fighting for them gubmint workers, Goldy. Nice of you to be so concerned with their well-being that you'd rather fund their retirement and benefits than your own.
Posted by qrq on August 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM · Report this
We'll need some sort of newsprint to sop up the blood from all the back alley abortions we'll be seeing if their kind win.
Posted by kinaidos on August 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 5
When everyone was doing really really well, government workers agreed to awful awful pay rates but so so retirement packages. Private sector workers were taking home everything and the kitchen sink in 401(K) programs and high high salaries. BUT when the private sector tanked, who was left working? Yeah the "gubmint" workers as asshat #3 puts it. And what happened then? The private sector laid off workers screamed FOUL that the poorly paid public workers were some how getting a better deal. It's all Bull Shit and clowns like #3 know it but are too chicken shit to admit that. Public workers are not the EVIL one for having a retirement package. The laid off private workers have nothing because they were making big bucks when things were going well. Sorry you picked the wrong company to work for. Don't blame "gubmint" works for YOUR mistake.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on August 27, 2012 at 11:07 PM · Report this
@5, no one "takes home" their 401(k) programs, and most of the laid-off private sector workers were NOT making big bucks. Your claims simply attempt to widen the breach between private and public sector workers at a time when they should band together.
Posted by sarah70 on August 27, 2012 at 11:40 PM · Report this
stinkbug 7
No coverage of the Corrie verdict? I miss the days of round-the-clock slog postings.
Posted by stinkbug on August 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
Don't be surprised when they start taking higher paying jobs in Canada, while collecting US retirement benefits, if you keep this up.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 28, 2012 at 1:35 AM · Report this
Sorry #5, the jig is up. Working for the government is like working for the biggest failure of a company in history. A company that loses more and more money each year and can't control its costs. Oh, but the employees of this company expect and demand raises every year and don't forget the excellent benefits and the pension. This scam is going to end and soon.
Posted by qrq on August 28, 2012 at 1:47 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 10
@9: Go fuck yourself. The benefits, as noted above, are merely adequate. Not excellent. You are exactly the pearl-clutching crybabe he called out earlier. Go put your tinfoil hat back on and rage about chemtrails and inside jobs somewhere else, crybaby.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on August 28, 2012 at 5:34 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 11
If we marginally increased taxes on the wealthiest Amercians, started taxing the money stored in illegal tax havens, and raised the capital gains tax by 1%, we could hire back all the laid off government workers, and put unempoyment back to about 6%.

I heard somewhere that jobs were an important issue in this election.

But hey, who would be interested in some kind of pinko commie plan like that? We all know that 15% tax rates are freedom, and 16% tax rates are socialism.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on August 28, 2012 at 5:56 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 12
I worked in the private sector until 2007 when the absolutely ridiculous company I worked for for seven years told me - in the nicest possible way, and with a ridiculously generous severance package - to get lost. They had been bought by one of the on-line diploma mills, and needed a sacrificial lamb in the Seattle office.

In my seven years at that company, I saw us grow from twelve employees to over 250, then down to seventeen employees, and then up to 300. (200 were let go with my round). We were a public company, and we wasted stockholder money at an astonishing rate: kegs in the break room, "bagel Monday", "massage Friday" and other such nonsense. They acquired four absolutely stupid companies for ridiculous prices - the most ridiculous one only because it had a San Francisco address, and the CEO's wife wanted a career in "the arts" and she couldn't get one here. So they moved the "main office" down there, and spent thousands flying us down there every few weeks. Oh, and did I mention I made six figures for looking at the Internet all day while we sent out massive amounts of spam?

Nowadays, I am a modest City Light worker, making significantly less than I did at that other company, and paying about three hundred bucks a month towards my "lavish" pension (on top of the deduction for Social Security). If I work 30 years - I'd be 82 - I would get 50% of my highest salary for the rest of my life.

But I work for a good company, that delivers a good product at a very low cost to our customers, and in an environmentally sensitive manner. I find my work to be interesting and fun, and very rewarding, even though I work harder, and have employers with higher expectations of me, than any other job I've had.

So if we could get away from the troll's cartoon view of life and look at things objectively, we would see that the problem is not high paying government jobs, but artificially low rates in the private sector, and the naive people who accept that without question.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 28, 2012 at 7:11 AM · Report this
Don't forget the extra 5% pay cut that most state employees took in the form of furlough days throughout the year that have not been reinstated yet either. I think the state employees have been pretty accommodating.
Posted by bozbozeman on August 28, 2012 at 8:41 AM · Report this
@3/9 is just jealous because: A.) he's too stupid and/or lazy to be able to even get a job in the Public Sector, and; B.) Public Sector employees don't willingly allow themselves to be treated like pieces of shit by their employers.

Too bad qrq doesn't have the balls to stand up for his own rights as a worker, and can only complain how unfair it is that other workers who DO are so much "better off" than he is. But then, castrati are famous for their high, shrill voices...
Posted by COMTE on August 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
Goldy, the 3% cut actually took effect July 1, 2011 for the current biennium. You're missing one thing: State workers also were furloughed in 2010. The 10 unpaid furlough days, which began July 12, 2010, were tantamount to a half-month pay cut. When I introduced a floor amendment to apply the furloughs to legislators in the form of proportionate pay cuts, the amendment was shot down amidst bipartisan hysterics over the hardship it would inflict (the base salary for a legislator, ignoring per diem, exceeds the median HOUSEHOLD income in over half of all counties). In my final year as a legislator, I returned salary in the amount of the furlough to the state.
Posted by Brendan W. on August 28, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Minor correction: The 3% pay cuts began July 1, 2011. Prior to that, the Legislature imposed 10 unpaid furlough days that began July 12, 2010, and were tantamount to a half-month's lost salary. When I introduced a floor amendment to impose a proportionate cut on legislators, given that their own low-paid aides would be taking the cut (solidarity, you know), it was shot down amidst bipartisan hysterics over the deprivations legislators endure (their base salary for part-time work, even ignoring per diem, exceeds the median HOUSEHOLD income for half our counties). I can recall one E. WA legislator in particular complaining about how driving to Olympia (for which you would be paid mileage, plus a $90 per diem, plus the legislator owns over $1 million in property). I returned salary when furloughs began in my final year as a legislator.
Posted by Brendan Williams on August 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
marymc 17
Not that I have a state job last permanent one was eliminated and I was laid off in the 2011 round of budget cuts. But this is exactly the point I still find myself trying to make to the people who still rant about those "overpaid state employees"...

(Oh, and you forgot to mention the higher copays--MUCH higher for prescriptions--that we got along with those higher health insurance premiums.)
Posted by marymc on August 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
#14 - I'm neither of those things. I own my business and I am funding my own fucking retirement because I'm a fucking grown up and I know I will get old some day. As soon as somebody wants to explain to me why the fuck I should be on the hook to fund someone else's retirement I would love to fucking hear it.
Here's some math, as provided by #12. If a state worker starts their career at 25, contributes $300 a month to retirement, and works 30 years, at a generous 5% interest rate, they will have amassed $240k for their retirement. Now they are 55, they are getting 50% of their highest salary (let's assume that was 100k) and they will live another 25 years. They exhaust their own contribution in less than 5 years, and you want me to pay for the remaining 20 that they are going to live? Go fuck yourselves. Be grown ups, plan ahead, and stop hiding behind unions and their gestapo tactics to bleed the private sector dry.
Posted by qrq on August 28, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Report this

I teach mathematics at Ingraham High School in Seattle. I used to teach at Rainier Beach High School. I guess that makes me a "government employee". In May of 2011 I wrote the following post on the Save Seattle School blog about teacher pay and my personal situation. After reading some of the comments here, it seems like a good time to post it here. In addition, I would like to invite all of the readers to come visit me this year. School starts next Wednesday and I would be honored to have any taxpayer or community member in my classroom. I am in room 42. School starts at 8, but I have first period planning this year, so I won't start teaching till 9.

Michael A. Rice…

There has been much gnashing of teeth and consternation going on about teacher pay and a 3% pay cut teachers may be forced to swallow. What gets to me more than anything else is the vile comments that get posted afterward when an article is posted on teacher pay in the local newspapers. Given the comments, one would think that teachers were getting rich and not doing much to earn the vast sums of money they make. I have to say I look at that with bemusement. I guess it is time to put my cards on the table.

For regular readers of the SSS blog, you already know my story. However, many of you don’t. I switched careers in my mid 40’s to become a teacher. I am honored to teach math at Rainier Beach HS. I am in my 6th year. I love my job and I love teaching math to students. I think I have a great job. However, here are the facts of my situation.

I hold an undergrad in Accounting and a Masters in Finance. Before I decided to become a teacher, I worked for a bank in investment accounting. In 2003 (my last full year there), I made $75,000 (that included my bonus), had a defined benefit pension plan that my employer fully funded that would make it possible to retire comfortably after 25 years of service with basically with what I would be making in my last year of working, a 401k that the employer matched dollar for dollar up to 4% of my salary. On top of that, my health care was fully paid for and my wife was on the plan at no charge to me also. The plan was a top notch Blue Cross plan with no co-pays and a very, very large network of doctors, dentists, vision and mental health providers available to us. I also had 4 weeks vacation and every holiday off. I also was given a yearly bus pass, so I did not have to drive downtown.

In mid 2004, I left banking to join the Career Switcher program at CWU-Lynnwood to become a teacher. I did okay in the program, student taught at Ingraham and was fortunate to land a job at RB starting in September 2005. I have been there ever since. Once again, I want to say that I love what I do.

Since yesterday was May 1st, it was payday. Here is a summary of my paycheck. My salary for the month was $5,016.69. That works out to $60,200 for the year. Now I do earn an extra $50/month for being on the schools Building Leadership Team and an extra $100 for being one of the schools Education Technology leaders. That earns me an additional $1,500 for the 10 months I get paid for doing that. So, I will earn a little under $62,000 this year for working at Rainier Beach. Now I have taught Summer School the past few years and that is a good paying gig. I have earned $3,500 additional for doing that. Of course, it is a victim of the budget axe this year, so I am hoping another district will be willing to hire me. My total gross for the year (if I am able to teacher Summer School) will be about $65,000.

Now on, to the benefits package I have. I pay $171.43 to my cover mine and my wife’s health insurance plan. It is with Group Health and it is full of co-pays and deductibles. I then also have a mandatory 5% of my salary payment into my defined benefit pension plan. I am in Plan 3 which means that when I retire (which I plan to do at age 70, after 25 years of teaching), the plan will pay me 25% of the average of my 5 highest salary years. In addition, I put $160 per month into my 403b plan. If you assume inflation is 3% per year and stock market returns of 8% per year, when I retire, I will retire with the equivalent of what is $46,000 now. After taxes and these deductions, I clear a little over $3,600 per month.

I post this not to complain. I post this to show people the reality of what a teacher makes and where the money goes. Given my education, I am on the far right of the salary scale, so I earn more than most 6th year teachers in the district. My wife has been unemployed for over 2 years and I feel fortunate to have a job. I am honored that I get to educate your children and I take that responsibility very seriously. You can pass judgment on all sorts of things I do, but please think before you speak when you want to demonize teachers about what they do and what they make. That anger is misplaced.
Posted by Rock3232 on August 28, 2012 at 7:11 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 20
Troll dear, I can't speak for every department of government, but the rule in my part of the world is 30/60 - that is to say that if you have 30 years of service at 60 years of age, you can retire, but you are on your own for insurance.

And while it's sweet of you to assume everyone lives to be 85, actuarials - who actually know something about what they are saying (you should try it sometime) - will tell you that that is not the case. Since it's a big pool, with some people dying earlier, and some people living longer, it tends to work out. Need, it was working exceptionally well until the bankers decided to mess with the stock market.

And I do sincerely hope this wondrful retirement which you have so cleverly planned will allow you enough money to live a good long life. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it. I do hope you won't end up in the county poorhouse.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this
Don't worry about me, dear. My retirement is on track but unlike you, I won't blame evil bankers or anyone else if that doesn't hold. You see, I'm a grown up, and I take responsibility for my actions. I don't depend on unions to force somebody else into paying my way through this world. And dear, the math has NEVER worked out for the public pension scam. That's why the unions make sure that it is backed by taxpayer money. Because they know it's a scam and it was NEVER going to be self-funding. Enjoy your parasitic life. I don't get how anyone can be so proud of themselves because they've figured out a way to sponge off others but hey, that's just me.
Posted by qrq on August 28, 2012 at 9:25 PM · Report this

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