Wis. Public Workers' Pay Isn't So Hot

Public employees sacrifice cash for benefits, stability, study says
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2011 6:45 AM CST
Wis. Public Workers' Pay Isn't So Hot
Competing protests signs are seen in Madison, Wisconsin where an estimated 65,000 protestors descended on the state capitol on February 19, 2011 in the fifth day of mass demonstrations against a Republican plan to bust public workers unions. Demonstrators who have camped out in capitol dome since Tuesday...   (Getty Images)

Don't call the Wisconsin public employees greedy—despite generous benefits, they actually earn 4.8% less than comparable private sector workers, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. Public sector workers have higher salaries than average because their jobs require more education than average, too: in fact, a typical Wisconsin public employee with a bachelor's degree earns less than $62,000 a year, compared to more than $82,000 in the private sector.

Many trade private sector cash for public sector benefits and stability—precisely what "Walker is trying to take away," grouses one public employee. Proposed cuts have turned out protesters, counter-protesters, Tea Partiers, and others to the statehouse for five consecutive days, with numbers reaching 70,000 yesterday. "I just think these people are so entitled," one pro-cutback woman tells the Wall Street Journal. "Who do they think is paying for all this?" (Read more Wisconsin stories.)

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