Monday Feb 21, 201104:27 PM GMT
Quick Facts: Public vs. Private Sector
Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:27PM
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Protesters at the Wisconsin capitol enter their sixth day of battling Governor Scott Walker and his plan to end collective bargaining for some state employees. According to the governor, the state is facing a $137 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year and a $3.6 billion shortfall for the next.

 

The bill for Wisconsin is estimated to save $30 million by the first of July and $300 million during the next two years. The governor says in order to achieve those savings; public employees must pay half the cost for their pensions and roughly 12 percent of their healthcare costs. If the bill does not pass, Mr. Walker has said he will lay off up to 6,000 public employees. Gather.com

 

Highlights

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009), government workers make about 5 percent more than private sector workers on average.

 

In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that 36.2 percent of public sector workers were unionized. That's compared to a 6.9 percent union membership rate for private sector workers.

 

Public sector workers are significantly more likely to have traditional pension plans - called "defined benefit" plans.

 

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey on the costs of health insurance shows government workers are more likely to be offered health insurance while they work and in retirement.

 

Wages

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009), government workers make about 5 percent more than private sector workers on average.

 

Local teachers make 9 percent less than the average private sector worker.

 

And federal employees are substantially better paid than the average state worker. 

 

Union Membership 

 

In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that 36.2 percent of public sector workers were unionized. That's compared to a 6.9 percent union membership rate for private sector workers.

 

Workers in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate at 37.1 percent.

 

Retirement Benefits

 

Public sector workers are significantly more likely to have traditional pension plans - called "defined benefit" plans.

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of workers in the private sector have pension plans. In the public sector, defined benefit plan coverage is four times greater -- about 79 percent.

 

Health Care Benefits

 

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey on the costs of health insurance shows government workers are more likely to be offered health insurance while they work and in retirement.

 

State/local government employees are paying less for health care coverage than their private sector neighbors.

 

In Wisconsin

 

Wisconsin state workers have a median wage of $45,691. That's 22 percent more than the median wage earned by workers in the private sector.

 

The state workforce is much better educated than the private-sector workforce.

 

In Wisconsin, more than 60 percent of state workers have at least a bachelor's degree, compared with just over 20 percent in the private sector.

 

Wisconsin has an estimated $3.6 billion deficit.

 

SB/SM/DB

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