My View: There Should Be No Sympathy For DCEA

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Owen-David

On Tuesday, the Davis City Council did what they had to do, in fact they did what they were elected to do – make tough decisions with regard to the city budget.  The process is broken, it took way too long, it cost way too much money.

But there was no mistake this time – the council dotted their “i’s” and crossed their “t’s.”  There will be no 11th hour PERB board ruling to turn this back.

This was a tough job to do by the council.  This wasn’t an abstract motion where they were pushing numbers around on a board trying to make things work.  They had to look their employees in the eyes, they had to listen to personal sob stories, and then they had to make the right decision.

It’s hard to listen to a man who has given the city his best years, with tears in his eyes, tell you that he may end up losing his house because of this vote.

Unlike the firefighters, this is not a corrupt group that has extracted improper benefits and used the electoral process to rig the results. These are just hard working people who receive among the lowest levels of compensation in the city.

I say all of this because I want people to understand that I understand the hardship that this deal will impose.  But, at the same time, these people were either misled by their leadership or part of the problem that led to their ultimate demise.

Each councilmember on Tuesday night made comments about how tough this vote was.  Rochelle Swanson called it “one of the worst votes” that we have had to take and added, “none of us wants to be here.”

Not to pick on Councilmember Swanson, but while in a way I get that sentiment, in another way it infuriates me.

Let me explain why that is the case.  In early December of 2012, the council voted to accept the contract agreements from five of the seven city bargaining units.  Those employees took the same deal – and did so willingly and with the spirit of sacrifice and compromise in hand – that the council had to force DCEA to take.

In the meantime, every single active employee in DCEA benefited, in fact were rewarded, for their intransigence.  So why, Councilmember, is it worse to impose on this group?

This has been going on since 2010, before Councilmember Swanson was even on council.  DCEA was not willing to take even the meager reforms that that council imposed.  So, in the Spring of 2010, that council imposed the 2009 MOU on DCEA.

But they were impatient, they failed to complete the process and so, a year and a half later, the impasse was thrown out by PERB.  The city was forced to retroactively pay these employees the difference in the compensation.

Rather than come to a deal, these employees watched as nine of their colleagues were laid off in June 2012.  Now, the city was criticized for doing this, but DCEA had seven months from November 2011 until June 2012 to come to an agreement.

What this means is that, from 2010 until December 2012, the employees at DCEA were on the MOU that was agreed to during good times prior to the 2009 MOU, while the rest of the city had to take concessions, modest as they were, in 2009.  And for the last year, they had been on that same contract as five of the bargaining units were on a second new MOU with far deeper cuts.

Let us just look at the impact on cafeteria cash outs.  Prior to the 2009 MOUs, city employees whose spouses had their own health care could cash out up to about $1700 a month.  No other community in the state had as generous a cash out.

In the last MOU cycle, the city reduced the maximum to $1500 per month for existing employees and $500 for all new employees.  In this cycle, the number was reduced for all employee groups from $1500 per month to $500 – which still larger than most jurisdictions.

For those employees fortunate enough to have a spouse with a health care plan, it was like an additional $1500 to $1700 a month in salary.  The impact of losing $1000 to $1200 per month is huge, and should not be made light of.

However, the DCEA employee group had to know this was coming.  This was not out of the blue.  The employee groups have had several years to plan and the city is giving them more time.

As the factfinder noted, “The City proposes that the current maximum monthly cash out of the cafeteria health benefits be capped at $1,000 per month upon implementation of the Agreement; at $750 per month as of July 1,2014; and at $500 a month as of June 30, 2015, for all current employees. The City proposes an immediate cap of $500 per month for new employees.”

As the panel noted, “The Panel holds that this benefit is ripe for reform. First, it is discriminatory. The cash payout in lieu of health insurance favors those employees who happen to be fortunate enough to have access to health insurance through another source. An employee who is unmarried or does not have a working spouse (or the spouse’s employer does not provide health benefits), must forego the cash and obtain coverage under the City’s plan. Thus, the benefit is inequitable.”

The factfinder panel proposed a “more gradual” process to reach the $500 cap, but the city rejected those findings.  The employee groups who already agreed to both contracts have already severely ramped down their contributions.

This is a critical reason why there should not be heartbreak by council.  First, DCEA benefited (except for the nine employees laid off by holding out).  Second, the other bargaining units took the same deal that was imposed on DCEA.  Third, DCEA employees should have been prepared for these cuts and started taking steps to save money and cut back on their voluntary expenses.

The bottom line is yes, it is hard to cut salaries and yes it is hard for the employees who salaries are cut, but across the state everyone has had to do it.  DCEA, in a way, gamed the system.  In fact, because of the city’s screw up, they lived for some time on the pre-2009 MOU.  They benefited with higher pay and benefits for four years.

We should be praising the employees who played by the rules, not lamenting having to impose a contract on those who refused to play by the rules and benefited from their unwillingness to bargain.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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75 thoughts on “My View: There Should Be No Sympathy For DCEA”

  1. Mr.Toad

    What do you mean they didn’t play by the rules. It was the city who didn’t play by the rules and that is why the city had to pay back pay and it took so long. These guys, who work for the lowest paid bargaining unit in the city structure, were in a no win situation and chose the path of most resistance to get as much as they could as long as they could. You may have no sympathy for them but I do because they took a pay cut. It always sucks to take a pay cut. Just because they didn’t bend over and take it and instead fought back for the welfare of themselves and their own families you want to condemn them when instead you should be mad at the people who screwed it up the first time and had it handed back to them by PERB.

    These guys are working class heroes not some never sweat office managers or lawyers. Yeah they had pretty good contracts but you can’t even argue they were part of Romney’s 47%. They go to work and keep our city functioning. Its not their fault that Davis never adjusted its contract on medical benefits until this last round of negotiations. Put the blame for our fiscal situation where it belongs on past councils who refused to make the tough decisions but not on the people who earned their pay by going to work.

    You may not feel anything for these people but you didn’t have to face them and make the vote on a situation you didn’t create. Nobody ever likes taking a pay cut its never easy to tell your family you’re going to have to tighten the belt or move to a cheaper place or stop paying for a kids education or whatever. It wasn’t pretty but the City Council did what it had to do and their humbleness, humility and attempts at empathy struck the right tone on behalf of the community.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    SODA: Yes, it’s over now for DCEA. The contact is imposed, now they have to negotiate a contract long term, but the rules have changed. The city no longer needs to impose a contract, the contract is in place.

    TOAD: Point being, DCEA benefited by not coming to an agreement, the council shouldn’t have heartache over it any more than the other MOU approvals

  3. David M. Greenwald

    The contract is only for a year. So they need to get a longer term deal. The difference now however is that instead of being on an employee favorable contract, they will be on the employee favorable contract.

  4. hpierce

    [quote] The difference now however is that instead of being on an employee favorable contract, they will be on the employee favorable contract. [/quote]A difference w/o a distinction?

    That being said, the imposed contract does something else that you failed to note, and which is significant… the other groups agreed to pay the full employee share of PERS, while having it phased, and getting salary increases that offset or slightly exceeded the ‘loss’. Not true for DCEA. A straight 8% hit, with a “maybe” 3% offset IF (and only if) they made concessions on retiree medical that appear to be in excess of modifications other groups accepted. Apples and oranges.

  5. medwoman

    And on the other side of the world, the Swiss are voting on whether or not to cap a CEO’s salary at 1:12 compared with the lowest paid company employee.

    Again, my very unpopular opinion that the disparity between what the most affluent and the least affluent workers amongst us make is a disparity for which there is no possible justification. Note I am not saying that the city council members are in any way responsible for, or beneficiaries of this differential, what I am saying is that we, as a society have made the decision to glorify some positions and to degrade the value of others, even though the lesser compensated individual may be doing a task of major greater benefit to society.
    We could save ourselves much emotional grief if we were willing to compensate in such a way as to provide a decent living for all before providing a luxurious living for the select few.

    Fire away Franks !

  6. J Brown

    Jumpin on the hate band wagon.I hear a lot of punish the DCEA for not taking the hit and falling in line. What I do not hear is anything about how the FACTFINDER found that this city is not in the same condition as other cities, that this city still has reserves because previous city councils did plan ahead. City councils that reached agreement with DCEA.
    DCEA never took the stand that they were totally against the needed structural changes, they just dared to ask questions, questions like can you show us where these numbers you are asking for came from?
    Yes the DCEA has been imposed on, yes they are now going to feel the pain because they had the nerve to ask questions other groups didn’t, like how much is needed in cuts. Questions like why doesn,t a council member, or all members sit in on negotiations and explain it.
    I would not rejoice if I were a citizen of Davis. I would be thinking about the fact of what has transpired in Davis the last several years, cuts in pay, benefits and manpower to Police and Fire, and now your Blue collar work force. These cuts were desperately needed in other cities immediately, but if you look at the Fact Finding, the city would have gotten these cuts from DCEA, just over a couple of more years. Where is the urgency? Didn’t the council just give themselves a HUGE raise? 70% I believe.
    DCEA is guilty as charged, of asking for the proof of the urgency. The Fact Finder did not find that fact.
    The citizens of Davis had a rather unusual work force at one time, a majority of long term employees. This has changed in recent years with retirements and cuts. I can factually say even today the crews in Public Works have long term experience in their respective fields, Water,Sewer, Transportation, experience in this city, the city of Davis.
    Now the playing field is being leveled. The economy is turning around. Cities in which the employees actually live are starting to hire. I do not want the citizens of Davis to misunderstand what I am saying. Had the city and the DCEA gotten to this point with open communication, and that nasty word ‘transparency’ that keeps coming up, I think the employees would not feel the sting nearly as bad.
    Read the Words Fact Finder. There was a Fact Finding, by an impartial Fact Finder. This included financial records. The DCEA agreed to go along with the Fact Finders report. The City Council rejected the Fact Finding report and imposed. Nothing could be clearer to the citizens of Davis.

  7. SODA

    believe the multiplier factor has or is done in Japan….part of the history of the Quality Movement there. I like it…..
    but then I wear Birkenstocks, Frankly.

  8. J Brown

    Thankfully your opinion means nothing to me. I just hope the citizens of Davis who are important to me see through the smoke and mirrors laid down by powers to be.

  9. hpierce

    [quote]They are not being punished. [u][b]They have received the same contract as everyone else[/b][/u][/quote]
    [quote]That being said, the imposed contract does something else that you failed to note, and which is significant… the other groups agreed to pay the full employee share of PERS, while having it phased, and getting salary increases that offset or slightly exceeded the ‘loss’. Not true for DCEA. A straight 8% hit, with a “maybe” 3% offset IF (and only if) they made concessions on retiree medical that appear to be in excess of modifications other groups accepted. [/quote]Not true. And you still have not addressed the FF contract. They agreed to pay the full employee contribution to PERS years ago, but got that back in salary and then some (big time). You are either misinformed, David, or have an axe to grind.
    PASEA broke off from DCEA years ago, because they did not want to be ‘dragged down’ by not getting a better deal than the field/maintenance folks. Chickens came home to roost, and now I strongly suspect that the CM & HR director are listening to PASEA, Police & Management units who want “payback”, beyond what they agreed to.

  10. hpierce

    BTW is it a coincidence that both the Police member and the general Management member of the fact-finding teams have both received re-class/promotions in the last 3 years?

  11. Mr.Toad

    “Point being, DCEA benefited by not coming to an agreement, the council shouldn’t have heartache over it any more than the other MOU approvals”

    What makes you think there wasn’t heartache about the other deals? They just didn’t have a bunch of angry people staring at them on those other votes.

    My problem with you is you think its all so easy. Yeah, when you’re a self employed pundit its easy, not so much when you are the person who actually has to take the vote or the pay cut.

  12. Frankly

    [i]Fire away Franks ![/i]

    It is so nice to get to reflect on medwoman’s socialist ideas with my morning coffee.

    So, let’s take that Swiss idea and put it into practice in the USA… previously the only country where you could become a wealthy CEO without needing neither a pedigree nor any direct favors from friends and family in government.

    But let’s not stop with the CEO. We would have to include all those wealthy liberal entertainers also. And professional athletes. We would also need to include cardiologists and stock brokers.

    What would the impact of this be?

    First, we would have to consider the hit to the Treasury.

    Using the liberal entertainer for example, today that $25 million payday for their leading role in a movie production would net the federal and state government (assuming they live in California where most of them do live) about 50% (that would be their marginal tax rate… US rate of 39.6% for all income over $400,000 plus CA rate of 10.3% for anything over $1 million) or $12,500,000 in tax revenue. But given the 12:1 rule they would be paid $720,000 (assuming a $60,000 salary for the lowest-paid professional film crew job). And the marginal tax rate for that amount would probably drop to about 40%. So the government takes an immediate tax revenue haircut of $12,212,000.

    The company retains another $24,280,000 in salary reduction which after they take advantage of the byzantine tax codes to reduce their tax liability and get hit with an effective corporate tax rate of 12.1% (liberals might want to reconsider their opposition to flat tax rates). And so the government gets a whopping $2,937,880 out of that previous $12,500,000.

    So, by implementing meds’ Swiss idea, the wealthy make a lot less, the low paid worker does not get anything other than some tonic for his wage envy, and the government takes a huge tax revenue haircut.

    But of course meds has another idea to add to the Swiss idea. Instead of keeping that low-paid worker at $60,000, she would take that $25 million pay going to the liberal entertainer, and distribute it among all those lower-paid workers. So, instead of $60,000 for a film crew position requiring a high school diploma and five years of experience, the studio now pays $175,000 (hypothetical… may be more or may be less).

    Here is where meds’ socialism dreams start to really break down. Since a lowly film crew position pays $175,000, we see an overwhelming supply of people competing for the job. Other higher-skilled, higher-responsibility, higher-stress jobs cannot be filled because they do not pay enough of a differential to motivate people to pursue them. $175,000 is good enough. Due to the lack of adequate skilled and talented people at these higher-end, higher-skilled roles, the quality of movie production falls and consumers stop spending as much money on their products. The fall in revenue requires the studios to first reduce pay, and then start laying off people. The entire industry shrinks. Eventually another country starts producing higher quality entertainment, and US consumers start purchasing those products.

    In the end, the US loses jobs for its people and the tax revenue derived from once was a thriving entertainment industry.

    Ever wonder why we don’t get much high quality entertainment from collectivist states?

  13. Frankly

    Such and contrast in the Council meeting with all the empathy pouring out for the DCEA employees, and then the Council votes to give away a potential $100 million dollar city asset.

    Too bad the DCEA employee are not informed enough to probably even recognize the connection and the irony in these two Council actions.

  14. biddlin

    I’m hoping this marks an end to the publisher’s claims of being pro-labour. It is clear that the DCEA has played by the rules, to their benefit or otherwise and the city council did not. David’s intentionally deceptive,”We should be praising the employees who played by the rules, not lamenting having to impose a contract on those who refused to play by the rules and benefited from their unwillingness to bargain.” would paint them with a tarred brush.

    Biddlin ;>)/

  15. B. Nice

    [quote]And for the last year, they had been on that same contract as five of the bargaining units were on a second new MOU with far deeper cuts.[/quote]

    I’m assuming that this did not set well the with 5 other bargaining units?

    [quote]Prior to the 2009 MOUs, city employees whose spouses had their own health care could cash out up to about $1700 a month. [/quote]

    I’m not begrudging anyone it, I but I’ll admit to being very surprised by how high this number is.

    [quote]The cash payout in lieu of health insurance favors those employees who happen to be fortunate enough to have access to health insurance through another source. An employee who is unmarried or does not have a working spouse (or the spouse’s employer does not provide health benefits), must forego the cash and obtain coverage under the City’s plan. Thus, the benefit is inequitable.”[/quote]

    This is a tough one. I’m assuming this saved that city money? That providing health care for an employee was more expensive then the $1700 buy out.

    [quote]This is a critical reason why there should not be heartbreak by council.[/quote]

    I’m assuming the heartbreak they speak of apply’s to all the city employees.

  16. B. Nice

    [quote]Such and contrast in the Council meeting with all the empathy pouring out for the DCEA employees, and then the Council votes to give away a potential $100 million dollar city asset.

    Too bad the DCEA employee are not informed enough to probably even recognize the connection and the irony in these two Council actions.[/quote]

    Oh sure Frankly, like you would have seen any of this money go toward employee benefit plans.

  17. Frankly

    [i]Oh sure Frankly, like you would have seen any of this money go toward employee benefit plans[/i]

    I’m just making the point that the DCEA and the FF and the police and other city employees are losing in part because the city has the justified position of heading toward severe budget deficits… and these looming deficits are in large part because we do not take in enough revenue.

    You would think these employees would have been the first at the podium making the case that the city should stop its expensive mission to collect open space and build a farmland moat around the city, and instead put priority on land-use planning that results in more revenue for the city so it can pay its bills.

    The problem with city employee compensation reductions is not really connected with the fairness and reasonableness argument. City employees will lose that argument every time. Even teachers will have a hard time given their relative hourly rate and benefits packages compared to comparable private-sector workers.

    The problem is the pain of having to go backwards.

    Humans are not wired to go backwards. They naturally pursue their hierarchy of needs… essentially climbing the ladder toward self-actualization. What we do when we start taking pay and benefits away from them is to essentially push them down the ladder that they have been working to climb. That really sucks… even if it is justified.

    In reality, they had been standing on false rungs of the ladder. They had been propped up by politics and unionization. But nevertheless, it still sucks being told that you had not really earned your level of needs achievement, and that now you need to go back to worrying about those lower level needs you thought you had conquered.

    And your attitude about work is tarnished.

    In the private sector we rarely reduce pay and benefits. We will require greater benefits cost sharing as the costs rise, but very few companies will go to their employees and make them take a haircut because the company decides the employees are overpaid, or that the budget requires it. The reason no company would do that is that the moral of their employees would suffer and worker resentment would fester and those employees would be less productive and would in-fact damage the company further. What private companies would do is lay workers off (based on an assessment of need and merit)and require the remaining workers to take on more work and have the opportunity to earn greater incentive pay.

    That sucks too. But it the better of two choices for a number of reasons.

    But we don’t get to do that with unions in the way. These workers have their job security wrapped up in a legal bow.

    But again, they don’t see it or care about it because they are human and humans don’t like to be pushed back down no matter how they achieved their level.

    My point here though was that it is just ironic that so many city employees are also willing and able to let that expensive farmland moat continue while the city tells them we don’t have enough money to keep up their level of pay and benefits.

  18. SODA

    Frankly
    To be frank, private sector lays off employees much more than public sector. Lose a contract, lay offs. Expenses high, lay offs. That is a big difference I see. Not good in any sector but I think public employees are protected in this area. Comments?

  19. B. Nice

    [quote]These workers have their job security wrapped up in a legal bow. [/quote]

    I don’t think that this is inherently a bad thing. The idea that union workers aren’t motivated to excel in there job because they there is no incentive too, assumes that people are only motivated by extrinsic factors, (getting promoted and making more money). I believe that many people are motivated to work hard by intrinsic factors, like a sense of personal responsibility or pride in their work.

    Take teachers as an example, many teachers work many additional hours then they are contracted to. These extra hours do not get them overtime pay, a chance at a raise or promotion or an increase in job security. What then motivates them to put in these extra hours? My guess, they are inspired by as intrinsic motivation to do a good job. You could argue that because teachers have limited extrinsic reasons to do a good job, it attracts people who are intrinsically motivated, and I prefer these people to teach my kids. I think the same could be argued for any unionized job.

  20. Frankly

    Intrinsic factors will motivate new employees and a small minority of long-term employees. But on average after about 7-8 years most people gravitate to “it’s just a job”. Unless their job is ever changing and challenging with newness like meds’s. job.

  21. Jim Frame

    [quote]The company retains another $24,280,000 in salary reduction which after they take advantage of the byzantine tax codes to reduce their tax liability and get hit with an effective corporate tax rate of 12.1% (liberals might want to reconsider their opposition to flat tax rates). And so the government gets a whopping $2,937,880 out of that previous $12,500,000. [/quote]

    You started off fine, but didn’t follow through.

    First: that $25M “salary” for Tom Hanks isn’t a salary, but a contract. Although Tom Hanks probably isn’t working as Tom Hanks Sole Proprietor, the staff at Tom Hanks Inc. can probably be pared down to 1 employee (known affectionately as “Mr. Hanks”), with a bunch of subcontractors to handle the details of Tom’s busy life (accountant, attorney, agent, business manager, etc.). So Tom doesn’t have much to fear from a 1:12 cap.

    Second: I don’t know the details of the Swiss initiative, but if implemented in the U.S. (highly unlikely, give the political realities that pertain) it would probably apply only to publicly-traded corporations. Again, Mr. Hanks is in the clear.

    Third: The $24M salary reduction realized by the company isn’t going to sit in the bank forever. Apple, Inc. not withstanding, most public companies are going to distribute that money to shareholders at some point, and those individuals will have to pay taxes on it. Even when you account for pension plan stockholders, that money is going to work its way down to taxable income somehow. So the net loss to the Treasury is going to be much lower than quoted above, if not entirely a wash.

    At any given point in time it’s a closed system, and squeezing the balloon in one place is going to expand it in another place. The tax man watches the balloon very carefully — though he’s paid off to turn a blind eye to certain spots — and is always ready to collect his share.

  22. B. Nice

    [quote]In the private sector we rarely reduce pay and benefits. We will require greater benefits cost sharing as the costs rise, but very few companies will go to their employees and make them take a haircut because the company decides the employees are overpaid, or that the budget requires it. The reason no company would do that is that the moral of their employees would suffer and worker resentment would fester and those employees would be less productive and would in-fact damage the company further. What private companies would do is lay workers off (based on an assessment of need and merit)and require the remaining workers to take on more work and have the opportunity to earn greater incentive pay[/quote].

    FYI, the family owned company my husband work which has finicially stuggled with retirement fund costs (used to pensions) and increases in health care costs, has not laid off a single employee in time he has worked there (almost 15 years). They could probably handle the amount of work they have with fewer employee’s, resulting in more profit, meaning a larger paycheck and yearly bonus for my husband. He could probably find a job at a different company that is more profit driven and where his paycheck would be larger. But the reasons why his company has chosen not to lay off employee’s, because they care about these people, they care about their families, are the same reasons my husband enjoys working for this company, they care about him and they care about his family, and that is worth more to him, and us, then a larger paycheck.

  23. B. Nice

    [quote]Intrinsic factors will motivate new employees and a small minority of long-term employees. But on average after about 7-8 years most people gravitate to “it’s just a job”. Unless their job is ever changing and challenging with newness like meds’s. job.[/quote]

    I can see where this would be true in cases were jobs are not mentally challenging or monotonous. (I don’t think it applies to teachers though.)

  24. medwoman

    frankly

    [quote]In reality, they had been standing on false rungs of the ladder.[/quote]

    I agree with your statement, but define the ladder with false rungs differently than you do. If we as a society provided for the basics for all our citizens, then no one would have to struggle to achieve life’s basic needs as long as they were contributing in some fashion to the well being of the society. If we were compensated equally for our time, people would doubtless have more ability to explore and discover what is truly exciting for them thus having a greater chance of not having their work become routine thus promoting mediocrity. I can easily see working as an ob/gyn four days a week and teaching reading or English as a second language ( yes, I have done both) on the fifth day. We could build a ladder based on contribution of time as opposed to our artificially constructed value based “ladder” that puts jobs such as doctor above the equally necessary and probably less pleasant job of garbage collector when both are clearly needed by society.
    We could redefine our values and restructure our society. We have done it before when we ended slavery. But it would be necessary to stop saying it isn’t possible.

  25. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]But it the better of two choices for a number of reasons.
    [/quote]

    The question here is “better for whom” ? Certainly not for the individual who loses their job. Particularly if the individual who loses their job is an older employee who has limited future job options. You may feel it is better because you actually believe in that saying “creative destruction”. To me this phrase makes a mockery of the fact that there is no “creative” but only destruction for the person whose life is ruined.

  26. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]Most of the people I know that have laid off end up in a better situation.[/quote]

    I am sure that is a comforting thought, but unless you have numbers to back it up, it remains nothing but a reassuring personal anecdote.

  27. B. Nice

    [quote]Most of the people I know that have laid off end up in a better situation.[/quote]

    MIght want to consider the sample size and it’s variation before extrapolating this data to far out.

  28. Frankly

    [i]I am sure that is a comforting thought, but unless you have numbers to back it up, it remains nothing but a reassuring personal anecdote.[/i]

    It is really quite simple.

    If you go back to before the Great Recession and before Obamanomics made a bigger mess of things, you found decades of low unemployment. I’m talking REAL unemployment, not that bogus Democrat-friendly government data that leaves out all the discouraged workers and people that had to go back to school because there are not enough jobs.

    Statistically most people that got laid off would find another job. And with the exception of those companies that went out of business and had to lay off even their best employees, most of the employees that got laid off were not the best fit for the job they had. Being laid off required them to do some soul searching and many would end up finding a new job that was a better fit.

    The bottom line… with low unemployment, people can find another job.

    I have never understood the emotional turmoil that some people project onto losing a job. Yes, in a crappy job market it is a frightening thing. However, in a robust job market most people that want to work and have some skills can find another job.

    In my experience, most people that demonstrate or project strong negative emotions onto a situation where a job is lost due to layoffs or other necessary reasons are probably in need of some level of cognitive behavior therapy. A job is a job is a job is a job. One does not work out, go get another. You don’t like something about your job, try to work to make it better, and if you can’t quit and go work somewhere else.

    I think this is the way it should be.

    But a crappy job market screws it all up.

  29. B. Nice

    [quote] A job is a job is a job is a job. One does not work out, go get another. You don’t like something about your job, try to work to make it better, and if you can’t quit and go work somewhere else. [/quote]

    And “let them eat cake” while their looking.

    And when all else fails blame Obama Care for the country’s problems.

  30. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]Statistically most people that got laid off would find another job. And with the exception of those companies that went out of business and had to lay off even their best employees, most of the employees that got laid off were not the best fit for the job they had. Being laid off required them to do some soul searching and many would end up finding a new job that was a better fit. [/quote]

    So, I ask you for numbers and you give me a longer version of what you already said.
    There is a difference in “finding another job” and “being in a better situation”. Your evidence that “most were not the best fit for the job they had”. Some data would be useful. All you have put forth so far is your personal opinion. An opinion which I do not share. I gave you one example based on personal greed, not the market, when we spoke. An individual gets work done for free by someone who is in everything but name an “intern” thus not providing a paying job because they can get away with it. This is not uncommon amongst my daughters friends. This does not have anything at all to do with “the market” that you seem to feel is not only all powerful but just.

  31. Growth Izzue

    [quote]Earlier this year the Swiss public backed the introduction of strict controls on top salaries, giving shareholders the power to determine the pay of managers at listed companies.

    A separate referendum will be held next month on whether to introduce a basic income of 2,500 Swiss francs for all adults.

    Critics say that the 1:12 initiative could reduce Switzerland’s tax revenue by between CHF 2bn (£1.4bn) and CHF 4bn (£2.8bn), and make the country less attractive for overseas companies and investors. They are also concerned that it could result in job cuts as businesses outsource lower paid positions to narrow their pay gap.[/quote]

    It worked so well in Russia.

  32. JimmysDaughter

    Frankly:
    “It is so nice to get to reflect on medwoman’s socialist ideas with my morning coffee.”

    Frankly, I don’t know if Medwoman has now, or has ever been, a member of the socialist party. Why don’t you get a committee together and ask her and everyone else on this blog who disagrees with you? And maybe you could also publish a list of everyone in Hollywood who disagrees with your view, too? If you can’t get to the bottom of it, you could find every single blogger who supports the Affordable Care Act and include them. They are all members of the Socialist Party, too.

  33. Frankly

    [i]”And “let them eat cake” while their looking.

    And when all else fails blame Obama Care for the country’s problems.[/i]

    So, how does this comment – a continuation of the standard corporation-blame for not having enough jobs that Democrat party apparatus is so fond of – jibe with a local political position to favor open space over business development? Incongruous to say the least?

    There are quite a few young people out there unable to start their careers and likely being financially damaged for the rest of their lives due to Obamonomics and Obamacare. It is not just that they cannot eat cake now, it is that they will likely never be able to afford much cake. But those do-gooder crusaders of social justice can sleep easy at night knowing that they have helped a few million more people have subsidized healthcare at the expense of the futures for these young people.

    Anybody currently unemployed, under-employed, underpaid or discouraged to the point that they have just dropped out of the job market, at this point in time would be completely justified blaming the current failed economic policies of the Democrats in Washington, the past and current failed policies of the Democrats that have controlled the state of California, and the past and current policies of the liberal progressives that have dominated Davis’s local politics. Our economic problems are largely ideological… with the ideas of the left slowing and persistently choking out the conservative ideas – mainly free markets, free enterprise, economic development and individual success through hard work and self-determination.

    It is a move from a patriarchy of tough love policies, to a matriarchy of touchy-feely we-will-care-for-you-no-matter-how-much-you-screw-up policies. So we all feel more loved and cared for as we grow more and more unable to care for ourselves… and demand more and more social services to make up the deficit.

    We are heading down and most appear too emotionally vested to their own selfish pursuits to even care.

  34. Frankly

    [i]Frankly, I don’t know if Medwoman has now, or has ever been, a member of the socialist party. Why don’t you get a committee together and ask her and everyone else on this blog who disagrees with you? And maybe you could also publish a list of everyone in Hollywood who disagrees with your view, too? If you can’t get to the bottom of it, you could find every single blogger who supports the Affordable Care Act and include them. They are all members of the Socialist Party, too.[/i]

    JimmysDaughter, this clearly reads that being called a socialist is some form of an insult. That being the case, don’t you agree that it would be a good idea for others to point out ideas that are connected with socialism?

    I do know medwoman a little from all our hours of blogging and chatting. I don’t think she is a socialist per se, but with respect to economic policy she absolutely has idea that are more socialist than capitalist.

    And there are certainly many in the groups you list that are unabashed socialists.

    During the early industrial revolution in this country, there was a sizable percentage of Immigrants that went back home after giving the US a try. It did not work for them. The found the scrappy, competitive, hard-working, thick skin-favoring culture to be a bad fit for them. They could not seize the opportunities. Maybe American as designed has not been the best fit for certain personality types. It favored those with a greater streak of independence and drive to make something out of themselves. However, most of the immigrants to this country were a good fit because of the very challenge it took for them to get here. That challenge filtered out the risk-averse.

    The original design of this country favored those that after being knocked off the horse, they got back on again and kept at it until they got it right. Those people would succeed and their success would translate into political power to favor the very ideas that helped them succeed. Sure there has been cronyism and corruption favoring those earning higher levels of wealth. But the same is going on today in our much more touchy-feely dominated power structures.

    As our population has exploded from increased immigration from our southern border where the motivation only has to be desperation not risk-taking self-determination, and as the women’s movement has advanced and our turn from a patriarchy society to a matriarchy society has also advanced… we have the perfect storm of nanny-ism run amuck.

    As a small example, I know a single mother of a well-educated daughter that is complaining to me that her daughter is being taken advantaged of by not being paid for the work she is doing as a research assistant. As a father myself I can tell you that I would have advised my daughter to demand payment or quit and go do something else, because she is worth it and should not allow others to take advantage of her. But then that means taking risks and leaving the comfort of a situation… something that a mother (including mine, and my sons’) will generally find more difficult to push.

    I see this as a micro example of a problematic macro change that is occurring in this country, state and community. Open space preservation is a mission of the soft and risk-averse. It includes values shared by most preferring a much greater emphasis on investment in long-term economic and fiscal robustness, but it dominates and supplants the harder economic mission on ideological and emotional grounds that it cannot compete with.

    We need a return to a society that is dominated by tough love. A return to a greater balance that focuses on long-term well-being, not just a pursuit of what helps everyone feel better at the moment.

  35. B. Nice

    [quote]As a father myself I can tell you that I would have advised my daughter to demand payment or quit and go do something else, because she is worth it and should not allow others to take advantage of her.[/quote]

    Women standing up for themselves, and not allowing other to take advantage of them, resulted in the women’s movement that you seem to despise so much.

    [quote]as the women’s movement has advanced and our turn from a patriarchy society to a matriarchy society has also advanced… we have the perfect storm of nanny-ism run amuck. [/quote]

    I have to ask, are you actually suggesting we should go back to a time when the country was run only be men? And that we would be better off doing so?

  36. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]There are quite a few young people out there unable to start their careers and likely being financially damaged for the rest of their lives due to Obamacare.[/quote]

    Well, at least if they get their potentially fatal diagnosis prior to age 26, they are now alive if they are lucky enough to have parents with health insurance. And let’s forget that if and when they relapse, they cannot be denied insurance on the basis of those pesky pre existing conditions that Republican wanted to do away with until Obama actually made it law. Being alive certainly sounds like a basic necessity for future success, economic, or otherwise.

  37. Frankly

    No going back in time, just acknowledging the good in our past and working to incorporate it our progressive agenda instead of branding it ALL as racist, homophobic, gender biased, greedy, etc., to win at all costs.

  38. Frankly

    Note: The GOP always agreed that we had to solve the problem with health care access impacts from pre-existing conditions. It is a myth that Obama and the DEMS had the only solution here. And by the way, their solution is a mess.

  39. Don Shor

    [quote]The GOP always agreed that we had to solve the problem with health care access impacts from pre-existing conditions.[/quote]
    But they have never offered a plan that makes it illegal to refuse insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

  40. fedup

    It is sad that you think so little of the people who among other things bring you clean water,fix your roads,sidewalks,make it possible for sewer to leave your homes but they have also been called upon during fires(fighting fire on the the side of 80 with nothing more than a shovel),stop when there is an accident to wait with the injured person until police or fire arrive and stop to remove debris from roadways.There are some who have to have Hazmat training and certification so if there is a chemical spill they can respond and keep the community safe.There is a lot more that goes into these jobs then most people know.The employees are required to maintain a distribution or treatment certification or BOTH through the State health department which consists of fees(that are not always reimbursed),schooling,continuous education contact hours in order to maintain their certs and even testing on Saturdays(for which they are not paid for or given time off during the week).Their salaries are paid from enterprise funds not general funds and a large percentage of them are paid well below market and have not had a raise in years,even Social Security gives a cost of living increase.If the City is so hurt for money then, why did City Council give them such a large raise?Why did the City Manager spend over $100,000 remodeling his office and even more on City Hall?People keep referring to the 9 DCEA members who lost their jobs but don’t realize that water/sewer rates are figured on number of employees as well as a percentage for pay increases …Your water rates still have the 9 employees figured in as well as NO raises have been given to the remaining employees.I would have to ask myself why rates continue to rise?Part of the reason the City didn’t see the savings they hoped is they wanted to send a message to DCEA so the City decided to cut 9 jobs of lower paid employees instead of cutting jobs or salaries of employees who make $80,000 or more a year and are not the people who bring you your water or make it possible for sewer to leave your homes.Some employees from other departments were reclassified to fall under the enterprise funds from the general fund because they had someone higher up that didn’t want them to lose their job instead of bringing back some of the laid off employees.The DCEA employees put their health and life on the line daily but do not get the respect or pay they deserve for all the hard work they do.I’m sure people will have a lot of negative to say about my view but oh well.The public needs to realize that they are being lied to by their City officials.

  41. David M. Greenwald

    fedup: Youpr point assumes that people who believe we need to make cuts in order to keep the city’s budget sustainable in the face of $15 million deficits coming in the next few years do so because they think little of people. It is an unfortunate situation. Unfortunately the magnitude of the impacts have been worsened by how it was handled by the city (pre-2011) and the employee groups now.

  42. fedup

    I am not assuming anything(however you’re entitled to your opinion).You have said you have no sympathy as well as your articles are one sided.You say the City is facing a $15 million deficit…At one point is was discovered they had $10 million in reserve.What happen to that?In my opinion it was poor management or they moved that money.What you don’t know is that these employees have been asked to perform many more duties that are NOT in their job descriptions and have done so without compensation.Some of the duties were once performed by outside companies but are now handled by City employees,so right there the employees have saved the city money.People assume that these employees make so much money,yet most of them can’t even afford to live in the City they not only work for but care for.

  43. David M. Greenwald

    At one point in time, the city maintained a 15% emergency reserve. However, that has been eaten into in the last few years. Even if it weren’t, a $10 million fund of money is just one-time monies and would be eaten up quickly.

    The city has gone about as far as it can go in terms of tightening the belts. As you describe, employees has been asked to perform more duties.

    Every month that the city employees have held out on a contract, is costing the city roughly $114,000 and that is money that was not budgeted for those costs.

    The DCEA employees do not make a lot of money, but like all groups have been asked to take concessions in order for the city to balance its budget.

  44. Frankly

    [i] The problem is that to solve the pre-existing coverage problem, you have to have the individual mandate.[/i]

    This is absolutely not true and an example of the myth that the GOP just blocked and didn’t have ideas of their own to share.

    Don, you conflated the access problems caused by preexisting conditions with the problems of too high cost. Those are separate.

    The Democrat solution was built on a mindset of top-down control. Frankly, that is how Democrats think these days so it is no surprise. They cannot seem to understand or accept any market-based approach.

    The agreement between Republicans and Democrats in congress was that we require regulatory changes to fix the problem with pre-existing conditions. We had that in common. The ONLY conflict was what was the best way to solve that problem. Democrats dreaming of a single-payer end-game didn’t want any market-based approach because it would delay or derail their end-game dream. So, instead of building on the common interest, the Democrats joined with their medial pals to trash the GOP and brand them as uncaring about the people.

    And in the end you have Obamacare 100%, lock-stock-and-barrel owned by the Democrat Party. It is their mess. It will serve far fewer of the 50 million uninsured that was used to justify its enactment. It will cost billions more that what we were told it would cost. It will drive up insurance costs higher than they ever would have been. It will cause other access problems for previously insured. We will have a growing shortage of doctors… partially because it causes fewer to seek the career, more to retire early and more to drop out of the insurance game and move to the growing market of pay-for-service concierge models. It will cause more jobs to be lost and reduced benefits for those lucky enough to find and keep a job.

  45. fedup

    A large percentage of the DCEA employees who work in the Public Works Dept are being paid way under market value and have been promised for years to be reclassified and brought up to market value but as of yet have not been.
    Thanks to some of these employees the City has saved money because the fire hydrants have been updated throughout the City,which allowed the City to get a better fire rating in turn not only saving the City money but the residents as well,they save money on their insurance.Also,another point that seems to not have been mentioned is there were several employees who retired early after the last impasse with the City and there have been no new hires,so that again has saved the City money.I think that the members of DCEA in the Public Works Dept have done more then their fair share to save the City money,especially since they are working with a skeleton crew and still maintaining their responsibilities.As for the $114,000 that they are supposedly costing the City,maybe if the City would not try to strong arm their employees and work with them instead of against them then they could come to a resolution.I am not trying to change your opinion but to help the people understand both sides.

  46. Frankly

    I don’t think the DCEA employees are paid under market value considering their total compensation (including the cost of their benefits) and compared to the full job market.

    If the DCEA employees were so underpaid, the city would not be able to hire workers for the job, and those that they did hire would leave for greener pastures. The fact that the city is generally able to easily find qualified candidates to do the job and the turnover rate is very low tells me that total compensation is strong for that job.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  47. David M. Greenwald

    “maybe if the City would not try to strong arm their employees and work with them instead of against them then they could come to a resolution.I am not trying to change your opinion but to help the people understand both sides. “

    Understood. But in my view, the city tried that in 2009 and it didn’t work. They didn’t get close to the amount of savings they needed at that time. And DCEA still did not agree.

  48. fedup

    An independent study was done and some were out of market as much as 25%…

    In my opinion the City did not and that is why they were found to have committed an unfair practice by failing to exhaust its impasse procedures before imposing its last,best and final offer.

  49. Davis Progressive

    “An independent study was done and some were out of market as much as 25%…”

    an independent study was done by whom?

    my understand is that the city failed to go through the whole factfinding process last time and that’s why it was overturned.

  50. fedup

    I am not privy to that information at this time.
    I was referring to last time as David referred to 2009.
    It seems that the DCEA Public Work employees are becoming a scapegoat for the City’s deficit problem but the City is the one who manages funding as well as retail growth.The City as well as some residents are against retail growth.If Davis was allowed to grow then there would be more tax revenue coming in and the residents wouldn’t be taking the business to other towns,like Woodland.
    Another avenue of saving money is to look at the employees in the public works department and instead of having them all classified as maintenance reclassify the, based on their job duties.There should be maintenance positions(for jobs that don’t require state certification or continuing education)and then there should be the more technical positions that require the state certification and continuing education.
    Another subject that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is that City Council receives life time medical after only 2 terms yet City employees don’t receive that benefit until after 30 years or so of service.

  51. Davis Progressive

    “Another subject that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is that City Council receives life time medical after only 2 terms yet City employees don’t receive that benefit until after 30 years or so of service”

    we discuss the issue of council medical every so often here. 30 years seems like a long vesting time. are you sure?

  52. Davis Progressive

    looks like the vesting at least for dpoa is 25 years for 100%, 75% for less than 25 years…

    councilmembers of course do not get paid other than a stipend, so the medical coverage is much of all they get.

  53. fedup

    If I’m wrong and it is 25 years,that is still a very long time compared to council members,who in my opinion don’t even put in full time work or put their health at risk.Yet the City wants to change the life time medical for the employees who physically put themselves at risk each day.

  54. Frankly

    I agree with fedup that it makes sense to correctly classify all DCEA workers and pay them accordingly.

    I also agree with him that the lack of retail and other business growth has impacted the city’s finances and is at least partially responsible for the looming budget deficits that are used as a justification for scaling back pay and benefits.

    Where I do not agree with fedup is that the DCEA employees are underpaid. They may feel underpaid and under-appreciated, but that is largely an emotional response to a faulty comparison.

    25 years to 100% vesting for any ongoing healthcare coverage and defined benefit pension is ABSOLUTELY UNHEARD OF IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. And the private sector contains 95% of the total workforce.

    95% of the population working in comparable private-sector jobs would feel like they won the lottery being able to count on 100% vesting into a retirement healthcare plan and pension after only 25 years on the job. Start at age 20, and be fully vested at age 45! Wow!

    When you factor the true compensation value for DCEA employees as compared to 95% of the rest of the working world for comparable jobs, DCEA employees are very well compensated… in fact they receive SIGNIFICANTLY greater compensation than 95% of their peers, and are paid materially equal to another 4.5% of their peers. There is a small number of other public-sector peers making more. But then 75% of those are working for cities heading toward the same fiscal train wreck as Davis.

    But it never feels good to have compensation taken away. People get used to an income stream and set-up their life in anticipation of that income stream. Now we are taking money away from them… reducing their income stream and impacting their achieved standard of living. No matter that this achieved standard of living was somewhat false from the over-compensation and over-commitments, it still hurts to be told you have to go back down to some lower standard of living. It sucks for the employees and we should acknowledge that fact and attempt to minimize the impacts by phasing in the changes.

    But in the end we have no choice but to take our city worker compensation back to a rational and sustainable levels.

    And the primary lesson we need to learn is to raise total hell the next time we see politicians rewarding unions for their political contributions and assistance. That will mean we need to drop our left-leaning ideological blinders and put on our fiscal responsibility big-boy pants.

  55. Jim Frame

    I think many people would agree that, regardless of negotiating strategy, DCEA employees are treated poorly compared with the management and professional classifications. However, I consider that to be a problem separate from the immediate need to reign in staffing costs.

    David’s choice of a title for this article doesn’t reflect my sentiment; I’m sympathetic to the overall situation of DCEA, but I think the City Manager and the Council are pursuing imposition as the best choice in a universe of poor choices.

    [quote]Yet the City wants to change the life time medical for the employees who physically put themselves at risk each day. [/quote]

    This statement confuses the purpose of health insurance, which is to provide health care for injury and illness not sustained as a result of job duties. For job-related injury and illness, Workers Compensation insurance is the relevant coverage. Workers Comp doesn’t cover illness or injury resulting from events that occur after termination of employment, regardless of whether you’re a CC member or a regular city employee.

  56. fedup

    As far as the health insurance I am referring to long term effects of the job from exposure to certain chemicals as well as the long term effects of some of the physical requirements of this line of work that may show up later on.

  57. fedup

    I am not going to continue to argue about the amount DCEA employees are paid,everyone is entitled to their opinion.However I know that they are not paid what they should be and a few years back a study was done (I believe the City had it done)and it was found that they were well below market(as much as 25%) and were promised to be reclassified and brought closer to market but have not been.With some of the certifications that these employees have they could make double or more in the private sector but would have to relocate themselves and/or their families,so they continue to do their jobs for what seems to be an unappreciative employer.

  58. Jim Frame

    [quote]As far as the health insurance I am referring to long term effects of the job[/quote]

    I don’t mean to sugar-coat my response, but medical care for those conditions is covered under Workers Comp. You have to be able to conclusively demonstrate that the injury or illness resulted from job conditions — and that can be tricky — but that’s what Workers Comp is for.

    Workers Comp coverage is limited, and despite urban legends it’s not a path to Easy Street. Proving a claim is an arduous process made intentionally difficult in order to discourage fraud, but it does provide a modest level of relief for legitimate claims. Claims for symptoms not related to a specific injury, like general back pain, are notoriously difficult to pursue; the process can take many years, and the awards are not lavish. (I observed one of my brothers-in-law go through just such a hellish ordeal. It lasted close to 10 years, during which time he was a near-invalid, underwent several surgeries, and in the end received a very modest settlement.)

    Illness attributable to chemical exposure ought to be pretty easy to document during one’s career, so I would expect Workers Comp claims of that nature to be recognized regularly. Treatment may not eliminate all symptoms, but at least the financial burden of treatment should be alleviated.

    As for non-specific complaints, I think the public policy concept is that a career spent doing physical labor is eventually going to result in aches and pains that a desk jockey might never experience (though the latter have their own workplace hazards to contend with), and that the compensation schedule reflects that reality.

    My own career choice has lots of opportunity for illness and injury, and I’ve tried out a bunch of them. Heat injury, severe poison oak reaction, a buggered-up elbow, and excessive sun exposure are just a few. I’m aware of them, but I like my job and wouldn’t swap it for anyone’s, so I accept them as part of the deal.

  59. Jim Frame

    [quote]With some of the certifications that these employees have they could make double or more in the private sector but would have to relocate themselves and/or their families,so they continue to do their jobs for what seems to be an unappreciative employer. [/quote]

    I’ll put on my Frankly hat for this one: the fact that they chose not to change jobs means that the value of living in Davis adequately offset the pay differential. They made a rational decision based upon their own perceived best interests, which indicates that their existing compensation is at or above market value for their individual situations. It’s hard to find a legitimate complaint in that.

  60. Frankly

    I doubt that the systems certification requirements for private-sector jobs vary much from the certifications required for public-sector roles.

    National compensation figures for similar roles:

    Facilities Maintenance Supervisor
    [img]http://www.thesocialmisfit.com/FacMaintSup.jpg[/img]

    General Maintenance Worker III
    [img]http://www.thesocialmisfit.com/GMW3.jpg[/img]

    General Maintenance Worker II
    [img]http://www.thesocialmisfit.com/GMW2.jpg[/img]

  61. fedup

    As stated before there are a large percentage of employees that do no live in Davis because they can not afford to,so your remark about the value of living in Davis doesn’t pertain to them.These employees not only have to take in to consideration their best interest but those with families have to consider the impact on them as well,if they were to take another job where they would have to relocate.I’m sure that a lot of them would like to move on from an employer who doesn’t appreciate their employees but for one reason or another they have chosen to stay. Since I am not those people I cannot answer why they would stay.One opinion of mine would be that they are close to retirement and rather then start over somewhere else they decide to stick it out,although I can almost guarantee that due to the way the City’s handled things there will be those who will retire early leaving the City with even fewer employees but claiming that they have to make more cuts.Pretty soon there will be no more qualified employees to run the system and your water,sewer,streets,etc will suffer because it takes years to become qualified.Many of these positions cannot be filled by someone who doesn’t already hold certification or have the years of work experience to obtain it within the 1st year.

  62. Jim Frame

    I’d like to modify what I wrote above just a bit to acknowledge that for most employees there’s a component of inertia that pertains to job changes, such that he/she is likely to tolerate compensation and/or working conditions that exceed a true “free market” change threshold before actually getting motivated to make the switch. Ideally the city would maintain compensation and conditions at or just slightly above that theoretical threshold in order to avoid having unhappy employees, but in the current budget climate that may not be feasible without some time for everyone to adjust to the situation that pertains.

  63. Frankly

    It has been proven over and over again that compensation is the 3rd or 4th thing that employees claim as reasons for staying on the job. Doing interesting work, getting recognized for contributions, liking the manger, and having friends that are coworkers… these four things generally exceed the value scale than does pay level. The exception is when the pay levels are significantly substandard. But we are not seeing that here despite what fedup claims (without any proof).

    Here is the secret of unionization: it destroys much of the first three and leverages the last one:

    – Interesting work – Job security and fat pensions cause workers to hang at a job far beyond what interests them. After 6-8 years, depending on the type of work, most workers will gravitate to “its just a job” motivations.

    – getting recognized – All union labor is treated the same for the sake of fairness. Collectivism of unionization is the antithesis of merit-based performance recognition.

    – Liking the manger – Unionism institutionalizes the us-against-them, labor-versus-management, environment.

    This is where unionism leverages the only remaining top-level non-monetary common value proposition for workers. For the most part they love their union brothers because of the adversarial environment established by unionization.

    So they have to make a big deal out of compensation. Other than their relationship with their worker comrades, it is only their pay that makes them actually have some job satisfaction. In fact, there is a bit of pride in them for having such good pay and fantastic benefits.

    Take that away and the job starts to feel pretty sucky.

    VSP and Nugget Markets are two local area employers that routinely land high on Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for in the nation. Both pay a bit less than market rates for many of their positions. They both have very high employee retention. The do so because they focus on the top-four non-monetary employee values.

    Bottom line. The worst thing that happens to a worker in terms of job satisfaction is to be unionized… unless he is one the early ones and grabs all the goodies before the goodie-jar is drained.

  64. Jim Frame

    I agree with much of what Frankly writes above about unions. Unfortunately, at many companies the only thing worse for employees than having a union is not having one.

  65. fedup

    As for the comparison above,DCEA employees do not receive bonuses and do not participate in Social Security.The fact is City Officials and City Council members appear to be cold-hearted Grinches.They could have waited until after the holiday season to implement but instead they chose to take away a large portion of their employees pay starting today.Even though they have implemented and they will recoup some money,it will be proven that this is not a viable long term solution.This is a bad business practice,cutting away at the lower paid City employees,instead of making cuts where it REALLY makes a difference.They already did away with 9 DCEA positions as well as had several employees retire early and STILL didn’t see the savings they claimed they would.What’s next???MORE higher taxes for Davis residents?

  66. Frankly

    [i]Unfortunately, at many companies the only thing worse for employees than having a union is not having one.[/i]

    Labor has plenty of power to force employers to up their game… in a robust job market. Because if one employer is not taking good enough care of employees, those employees can quit to go work for another employer. The bad employers would be branded as such. But in any job market the more experienced and capable employee will have the better chance getting the job at the best company.

    Labor is generally ignorant about a long-view. They vote against politicians and policies that favor business because of the short-term gains. Then when there are not enough jobs they get stuck not being able to quit a bad one because of the lack of available alternatives.

    DCEA employees do not get a bonus because they would never accept pay differentials based on demonstrated performance. That would mean they would have to trust management to fairly evaluate their performance. The private sector has been doing this for decades. Teachers evaluate their students constantly. But somehow if you are a union employee you are above that sort of thing. Too bad, because bonuses are paid based on performance. Instead, union employees all get the same.

    And their total compensation is still much higher than it is in the private sector even considering these bonuses. The primary difference is the value of the benefits: job security, healthcare and pensions.

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