11/17/11 Abuse of Benefits


It’s been a busy year when it comes to public employee unions. Changes have occurred in a number of states including Maine, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, attention was focused on Wisconsin where unruly mobs intimidated legislators who enacted sensible changes nonetheless. For example, old rules required health insurance be purchased only from a firm owned by the teachers union that sold premiums at greatly inflated prices.

Days ago, Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected changes to collective bargaining agreements. Ohioans must now figure out how to close an $8 billion budget deficit.

Abuses by public employee unions cost taxpayers billions. In a typical year, 9 out of 10 employees of New York’s Long Island Railroad retire with disability. In 2004, 97% retired disabled — even those who worked desk jobs. In retirement they get free greens fees for life to play golf.

It’s just as bad on the other coast. Four out of 5 California Highway Patrol senior managers become disabled in the final year before they retire. Two out of every 3 rank-and-file officers retire disabled.

Seventy percent of San Diego’s entire payroll budget goes to retired city employees.

It’s not being anti-union. It’s about curbing excesses and abuses. We can no longer afford the out-of-control costs.