Time on their hands
May 25, 2011
During 2010, employees of the State of Wisconsin and the UW system worked almost 1.9 million hours of overtime, for which they were typically paid time-and-a-half. According to a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, overtime payments totaled more than $360 million from 2006 through 2010.
Last year, overtime payments totaled the equivalent of having an additional 900 full-time employees, according to the Audit Bureau findings, and in many cases overtime payments exceeded what’s required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Why would that be? The Audit Bureau says it’s because of collective bargaining privileges where are about to be curtailed for most state employees. Of course if you’re a unionized government employee or the mainstream media, they aren’t privileges but rather “rights” that are being “stripped away.”
What’s becoming more and more apparent is that taxpayers have been routinely stripped of the right to their own earnings. The reforms that have union activists in the streets and breaking up sessions of the Legislature would do nothing more than restore a little bit of the balance that’s been steadily eroded since state government decided to buy labor peace with other people’s money.