Raises Scheduled for 35,000 State Employees
February 26, 2010




As reported in the Lansing State Journal today, “Michigan Senate Republicans are assessing support for a proposal to rescind 3 percent pay raises for about 35,000 unionized state employees.” The raises are scheduled for October 1 and will cost $48 million in the first year.


Of course they should be rescinded! It would be crazy to grant 3% raises to state employees at the same time we are asking them to take furlough days and make other concessions. This state is in financial crisis. The unemployment rate is 14.1%. 684,000 Michigan workers are unemployed. State leaders are dealing with an estimated $1.7 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal year starting October 1. We are cutting everywhere else; how does it make sense to grant 3% raises?


Ah, but they have a contract, negotiated fair and square 2 years ago with the Office of State Employer. Apparently the state had money to throw around back then.


What nonsense! How did we let the unions get their foot the door? State and local governments should not be forced to engage in collective bargaining. They are exempt from the National Labor Relations Act. State and local governments should pay employees the least amount necessary to attract qualified employees. Wages should go down when unemployment is high and labor plentiful, up when the economy is good and they have to compete for workers with other employers. In other words, public employee wages should be set unilaterally by their government employers, and they should be no higher than necessary.


The state is not only tied into contracts it can’t afford, but wages that could be going to state employees are being deducted and turned over to the unions in the form of union dues. Here are the figures for 2009, as reported by the Mackinac Center:

MI St. Employ. Assn/AFSCME Local 5


UAW Local 6000


MI Corrections Org./SEIU 526M




MI St. Police Troopers Assn.


AFSCME Council 25




What a deal for the unions. Since the Civil Service Commission’s job is to set compensation rates, determine the qualifications of all candidates for positions in the classified service on the basis of merit, efficiency and fitness, make rules and regulations covering all personnel transactions, and regulate all conditions of employment in the classified service, what is left for the unions to do to earn their $18,092,293.48?