As the Labor Day holiday approaches, a series of reports by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute takes a close look at government unions in Illinois.
The reports ask these questions: How does pay for state-government workers compare to pay for workers in the private sector? How much are perks included in the state’s union contract costing taxpayers? And are state workers, who must pay money to government unions as a condition of keeping their jobs, getting what they pay for?
How does pay for state-government workers compare to pay for workers in the private sector?
State-worker salary and benefit costs make up roughly one-third of Illinois’ state budget. Most state workers receive as many as three pay raises every year regardless of job performance or whether they gain any new skills. On average, state workers have seen their annual income double in the past 10 years, while the typical Illinois household’s income grew by only 15 percent – less than the rate of inflation.
What are egregious perks included in the state’s union contract costing taxpayers?
All across state government, Illinois is paying state employees not to work. Many government workers are allowed to show up late to work as many days as they want with little to no recourse, all while collecting their full salary and overtime pay. State employees in Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS, were paid for more than 5,000 hours they didn’t actually work. This isn’t a loophole in state workplace rules, it’s a perk specifically written into state workers’ contracts by the union. And it’s costing taxpayers millions.
Are state workers, who must pay money to government unions as a condition of keeping their jobs, getting what they pay for?
The four largest government unions in Illinois collect more than $100 million in union dues and fees each year. Dues and fees are supposed to pay for representing workers, but some of these unions spend as little as 22 cents of every dollar on representing workers. Political donations, bloated overhead costs and generous union-employee salaries all take up the majority of these unions’ resources.
“No matter what someone’s opinion of unions is, it is now clear that they are not serving workers who are forced to pay dues just to keep their jobs, or taxpayers who are seeing their taxes increase year after year,” said Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. “Government unions have lost sight of their actual purpose: representing workers in the workforce. Forcing workers to pay millions in dues and membership fees while using that money to consistently block the desperately needed reforms to pension systems and state spending is hurting taxpayers and state workers alike. Illinois should look to states like Wisconsin and Indiana for the union reforms that will give power back to workers while putting the state on the right path forward.”
Links to reports:
Government unions in Illinois: Are members getting what they pay for? http://www.
Contract with top union yields big payouts for state workers http://www.
State-worker tardiness costs Illinois taxpayers big money http://www.