It’s been widely reported that the negotiations between Jay Inslee and the state employees union are secret, at the union’s insistence. What hasn’t been reported is why the negotiations have to be secret.
A report drawn from the state employees’ survey provides a glimpse – because if negotiations were in the open instead of behind closed doors, the public would find out that the state is planning to give away tax dollars in raises that are not needed.
But for public employees, the data shows that:
•Two thirds of state job classes are at or within 25% of the market pay scale.
•The majority of state job classes have a 90% or higher retention rate – including many of those that fall into the more than 25% behind the market category.
•The state still offers platinum/gold benefits plans that are comparable to other public sectors and better than most private sector offerings. Despite a 3% increase in employee contribution rates in fiscal year 2011, Washington state employees still have an overall lower contribution rate than the majority of the market.
Certainly some state employees deserve raises for a job well done, but the union and Jay Inslee don’t look at individuals based on merit. Instead all employees deserve raises, regardless of performance, just based on how long they have sat in the same chair. But the survey shows that the vast majority of state employees are paid on par with taxpayers in the private sector, get much better health benefits that they pay far less for than folks not in government, and thus employees rarely leave their state job.
Shhh – better keep that all secret.