And of course the government employee union is the largest contributor to the Democrats. Defeated New Jersey Governor Bob Corzine tried to do this as well, but was stopped by Governor Christie on inauguration day. UPDATE – Wisconsin too LINK (via Kyle Carroll).
Gov. Chet Culver’s administration agreed Friday to offer pay increases for state employees that will cost taxpayers more than $100 million, despite Republican requests that the decisions be delayed until Terry Branstad becomes governor in January.
A Branstad spokesman called the deal “reckless,” and House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen said it would likely lead to layoffs.
But Culver defended the decision, noting that most state employees took at least five unpaid days in the past year along with suspension of employer deferred compensation contributions.
“These people are on the front lines of delivering vital services and information to the people of Iowa and deserve to be paid in accordance with their qualifications and efforts,” Culver said in a statement.
Union members will formally meet to accept or reject the state’s offer later this month, but Danny Homan, president of Council 61 for AFSCME, said: “In my mind, this is done.”
The wage hike plan would give members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, better known as AFSCME, a 2 percent across-the-board increase for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and another 1 percent raise the following calendar year on Jan. 1, which is what the group had requested. This 2- and 1- percent increase, under the contract, would be given in each of the next two contract years.
In addition, many union members who are not at the top of their pay grade would receive an additional 4.5 percent raise, known as a step increase, for certain professional milestones or for job longevity and other career advancements.
“The state accepted the union’s proposal,” said Homan. “I believe that probably ends this process.”
But wait there’s more!
A review last year by The Des Moines Register showed that Iowa is one of only six states to offer free health insurance to state government employees and their families.
Iowa’s state employees also pay substantially lower out-of-pocket health costs, such as deductibles and office co-payments, than private-sector workers, according to an independent study of nearly 900 businesses and government employers conducted this year by David P. Lind & Associates of Clive.
The Iowa Department of Management, in previous years, has released a statement showing how much the union concessions would cost taxpayers.
That wasn’t immediately available Friday. However, in 2009, each percentage point increase in state employee salary cost taxpayers $32.2 million.
“Taxpayers are the losers in this backroom deal,” said Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s chief of staff. “Governor Culver’s decision to rush through a collective bargaining deal with state employee unions before he leaves office is reckless and irresponsible. This will cost Iowa taxpayers $103.5 million the first year alone, and hundreds of millions in subsequent fiscal years.”
Work for the government, kick back money to the party and you’re livin’ fat.
How many of you don’t have to contribute to your benefits and healthcare at no cost or on the mega cheap? Wow I am so glad that we have these rich government unions to protect our state employees who are obviously so underpaid and exploited……