Illinois AFSCME: Three Raises in Seven Months is 'Fair'

Government unions are suing the State of Illinois for not issuing what would have been their third round of raises in just seven months. Last week, members of AFSCME took to the street to demand “fair pay.”

Do Illinois state workers suffer from unfair treatment? My group, the Illinois Policy Institute took a closer look at the issue, and found that government workers enjoy generous pay and perks – often far beyond what many outside of the public sector could ever hope to receive. Consider the findings:

  • The average compensation for an Illinois state government worker was $69,500 in 2008. The average private sector compensation? Just $56,500.
  • In real terms, private sector compensation (wages plus benefits) in Illinois declined 2 percent over the past 15 years, while state worker compensation increased by 17 percent.
  • Over a 40-year career, the average Illinois state worker will receive about 510 more paid vacation days than the average private sector worker.

Contrary to what they may say at the picket lines, public workers know they have a plum arrangement – that’s why turnover rates among state workers are a fourth of what they are in the private sector. Ensuring parity between those who pay for government and those who are paid by government is one of the greatest questions facing lawmakers today.

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