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Vanity--Why are public workers always furloughed instead of having their wages reduced?

Posted on 03/23/2013 10:30:46 AM PDT by Hebrews 11:6

Every time a government has a budget shortfall, the remedy is always to furlough or even to lay off workers. But all those workers could be retained and the job get done by simply reducing their pay-rates commensurately.

I understand that furloughing and laying off generates publicity and exerts pressure. But why does no one ever offer the pay-cut alternative? Why not, for example, an across-the-board 10% pay-cut?

I understand that many governments employees are stupidly permitted to belong to unions that can strike over pay issues, Wisconsin and Indiana notwithstanding, and that public-sector unions have contracts. Isn't it time to begin insisting that pay-cut provisions be written into these contracts?


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Society
KEYWORDS: furlough; publicunions; unions
I'm advocating that a new dialogue should begin: pay-cuts rather than furloughs!
1 posted on 03/23/2013 10:30:47 AM PDT by Hebrews 11:6
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Why do companies Lay off workers when the could reduce their work week or wages???


2 posted on 03/23/2013 10:32:37 AM PDT by tallyhoe
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Furlough is a smoke and mirrors tool used for media consumption and low information voters. In reality it means nothing. “Furloughed” workers get some time off and when a new budget or continuing resolution is approved, they get back pay. In essence the crisis is an increase in their paid vacation time.


3 posted on 03/23/2013 10:35:28 AM PDT by Baynative (Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.)
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To: Hebrews 11:6
union contracts...
4 posted on 03/23/2013 10:36:20 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Hebrews 11:6
public employee salaries are subject to laws ~ so, unless you want to just hand over determination of salaries to Governors and Presidents with no legislative oversight, you need to do something other than change rates of pay.

Furloughs do the job of cutting the expense without getting into a separation of powers dispute.

5 posted on 03/23/2013 10:36:44 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Hebrews 11:6

When an air traffic controller gets his hours cut from 80 per two week pay period to 70 per 2 week period, his pay HAS been cut.

Most of the furloughs have been implemented by cutting a day every 2 weeks or so through the end of the fiscal year. Most agencies aren’t sending folks home for a week or a month.

You’ve got a tension between workers who want to try to get the work done, and senior managers who want a disaster to make the Obama regime look good. It’s the opposite from a normal situation where things are the other way around.


6 posted on 03/23/2013 10:37:55 AM PDT by PAR35
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To: Hebrews 11:6
The furloughs are accompanied by a reduction in pay.

For instance a furlough of one day in 20 means the “worker” gets 5% less pay.

It's a way around the collective bargaining and civil service rules which make government so inefficient.

7 posted on 03/23/2013 10:38:18 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: BenLurkin

Obviously, furloughs reduce pay, but they also reduce productivity. Keep them working by cutting their rate!


8 posted on 03/23/2013 10:40:48 AM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: muawiyah

Interesting concept—thanks for your response. So, it would take concerted action by both the legislative and executive branches which avoiding judicial intervention. Not very likely....


9 posted on 03/23/2013 10:43:11 AM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: tallyhoe

Maybe because it’s a slow bleed that is painful for everyone. And rather than work for less money, it would be better for the affected employees to be free to look for a better paying job elsewhere.


10 posted on 03/23/2013 10:44:02 AM PDT by rabidralph (http://www.cafepress.com/westernwis)
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To: Baynative

I seriously doubt that we will get back pay. I would be shocked if we did.

This is different than a government shutdown furlough. The point is to reduce costs to meet the cuts we were given, so back pay would defeat the whole purpose.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it. We’ll see.


11 posted on 03/23/2013 10:46:05 AM PDT by SandyInSeattle (The Cardinals chose wisely.)
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To: tallyhoe

Civil Service rules passed by Congress virtually makes what you suggest impossible. Built in rules like if you change the job classification of a Federal Employee to a lower pay grade, they still get the same salary for 3 years, so it does nothing to cut pay. Then there are the appeal rights whenever pay is reduced. This isn’t based on Union contracts, this is Civil Service Law.


12 posted on 03/23/2013 10:46:23 AM PDT by Help!
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To: PAR35

When I was in CA I called the Franchise Tax Board for a work related issue. A man answered the phone and let me tell him the whole story, then told me that it was furlough Friday and he didn’t know anything except to answer the phone, didn’t even take messages. I wondered why they were paying someone for that when they could have made a recording, then figured it was a union job to stick it to us greedy taxpayers.


13 posted on 03/23/2013 10:47:16 AM PDT by Rusty0604
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To: Hebrews 11:6
Don't cut someones pay that is under contract or they will sue you for the wages. Klinton shut the government down and most people got a week free vacation with full pay. I had to work as an “essential employee”. Reducing wages is considered a disciplinary action and needs some sort of hearing. Obama has approved small annual increases.
14 posted on 03/23/2013 10:50:49 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Help!
Many of the private sector types here on FR have no idea that civil service laws exist. Then, too, they slept through the American History 'Pendleton Act' section ~

I'm sure none of them are aware that my having fought a legal battle to win two major precedents in civil service administrative practices was, in effect, a multi-billion dollar accomplishment.

15 posted on 03/23/2013 10:52:30 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: tallyhoe

A lot of companies do reduce wages before laying people off.


16 posted on 03/23/2013 10:52:51 AM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: Help!
Civil Service rules passed by Congress virtually makes what you suggest impossible. Built in rules like if you change the job classification of a Federal Employee to a lower pay grade, they still get the same salary for 3 years, so it does nothing to cut pay. Then there are the appeal rights whenever pay is reduced. This isn’t based on Union contracts, this is Civil Service Law.

The real solution would be to repeal much of the civil service law, and bar unionization of federal workers.

17 posted on 03/23/2013 10:58:35 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Lord. Help us all if you are a typical voter. I fear America with the likes of you around.


18 posted on 03/23/2013 11:02:20 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: SandyInSeattle

From my understanding of this furlough the DoD is cutting hours worked a week from 40 to 32 hours (4 workday week). Civilian workers will not be getting back pay for hey did not work and cannot use leave to compensate for the loss. This is not a shutdown furlough where they could work without pay or take leave till the budget is passed. The DoD has told workers if furloughed they can work a second job as long as it does not interfere or create a conflict of interest with their position. It will be tough times for the lower payed government workers, GS-9 and below, and those with families.


19 posted on 03/23/2013 11:06:05 AM PDT by Liaison
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Because they have ALWAYS received their back pay when the furlough ends.


20 posted on 03/23/2013 11:06:18 AM PDT by G Larry (Which of Obama's policies do you think I'd support if he were white?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

I think they do furloughs, not only because it is a way to do a cut now and pay the money back later, but because it has no affect on the basic pay structure.

In federal employment, getting a pay cut might be like getting demoted, I think, because you would go down a step or two or even a grade, unless a whole new schedule was used. Then it would also mess with your retirement benefit, which is keyed to the amount of time you spent at your highest pay grade. (The retirement benefit is a savings plan with employer and employee contributions.)

It might also mess with your job description and authority. For example, if you are a senior attorney, a GS 15, you have some responsibilities that junior attorneys, 11 or 12, don’t have. If you go down, how does that affect the pecking order/assignments, etc?


21 posted on 03/23/2013 11:06:48 AM PDT by married21
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Demwits are nothing if not dramatic. Laying them off is more dramatic than cutting wages and salaries.


22 posted on 03/23/2013 11:09:41 AM PDT by Old Yeller
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To: Hebrews 11:6

While you’re at it, just eliminate any notion of a bilateral contract.


23 posted on 03/23/2013 11:15:23 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: SandyInSeattle

If you work for government and are in a union I think the law requires payback. I knew a couple of civilian government employees at the Defense School in Monterey when the government shut down in the 90s. They were off for a couple of weeks, but got back pay.


24 posted on 03/23/2013 11:17:44 AM PDT by Baynative (Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.)
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To: napscoordinator

Just so we can all have the joy of relishing your incisive logic, can you see through your disdain enough to present a coherent supporting argument here, rather than simply spewing insult?


25 posted on 03/23/2013 11:33:17 AM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Nothing wrong in reducing the salary levels of respective job positions, but it also takes time, just as it took time for them to escalate.

FWIW, Antichristians, Blacks, Women, Lesbians, Gays, have all been promoted to GS12-13 positions with little more than HS diplomas, while white male professionals with graduate degrees and 20yrs experience in the professions rarely are promoted above GS11, and generally only if they are not Christian. It’s a good ol boys club, and those with virtue are set up and worked around by the back office crowd.

If you want to bring back efficiency, first remove the antiChristian bias out of the workplace.

In efforts to reduce costs, simple percentages are now passed down the chain of command.

Every year, reduce your resources by 10%.

Does anybody review the resources with their missions? Rarely.
Our vehicle pool has been reduced down to 3 vehicles per 50 people to run all the utilities, prepare scopes of work, inspect, direct, maintain, repair, and build any facilities supporting a 20,000 personnel population. That is now being reduced to 2 vehicles next year and one the following year.

We now are required to remove PCs from the desktops by similar percentages. 10% one year, another 10% the next.

Nobody decides who’s will be removed as everybody is working on them from the office.

Do we share? Sure, but productivity drops even further.

We already buy own administrative supplies, and we don’t have cafeteria plans.

Our pay is half industry standards and we are forced to pay contractors wages for no skilled labor at rates about twice our hourly salaries.

We already have been working 60-80 hrs/week for the last 12 years and now only receive OT or CompTime perhaps one in 4 hours spent if we are lucky. That has now been eliminated.

Where some of us had alternate working schedules, 4-10hr days vice 5-8 hr days, we are looking at have to go to 4- 8 hr days, while we still commute over 70 miles one way to work. So we don’t really even get the opportunity to find a side job to make up the furlough differential.

Younger hires (within the last 5 years) also face the first RIF layoffs and are also paid initially as college degreed professionals near minimum wage as GS5s.

Additionally, if we are in debt, we are told we can lose our jobs. So credit card debt is not an option.

Might I suggest that instead of reducing our pay, just go back to full time conscription and also provide the full healthcare and amenities WWII Privates to Corporals received. They had more guarantees of a future than present DoD civilians receive, except those who retired and are drawing a double paycheck.

We don’t have many freedoms or liberties anyways and those in authority have less virtue than mid level ranked officers in WWII.


26 posted on 03/23/2013 11:41:28 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Obviously, furloughs reduce pay, but they also reduce productivity.
*****************************************
We WANT their productivity reduced 100%.


27 posted on 03/23/2013 11:45:24 AM PDT by Neidermeyer (I used to be disgusted , now I try to be amused.)
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To: G Larry

Past furloughs have been the consequence of Congress and the Executive Branch not producing an Annual operating budget on time, resulting with no legitimate authority to pay government employees.

Different games were played to keep essential services alive, but generally the authority to hire employees rests upon the authority of Congress to approve the budget authorizing the Executive Branch to pay the bills.

When they were late, and employees were furloughed because of the late budget approval, the politicians quickly approved some form of payment to those who had relied on Congress meeting their timelines. Congress found it simpler to just pay the normal pay than to further account the issue.

The present situation is different.

By Law, if the budget isn’t balanced to a certain degree, then automatic cuts are forced on governmental agencies.

To some extent, the services are deciding how to distribute those cuts.

In DoD, the emphasis is mission accomplishment, and DoD is able to furlough civilians up to 22 days without forcing a RIF. That’s why they are issuing the furloughs.

Believe me, even the flag ranks haven’t fully thought through the consequences.

FWIW, in contract services and MILCON alone, there is a strong likelihood that the costs the government from this furlough will be 3-5x greater over the next 5 years in contract claims, equitable adjustments, undocumented work, and poor quality uninspected work. It will also slow down maintenance and repair work, with many utilities tottering on loss of functionality.

Worse, there will likely continue into next year more furloughs, RIF, early outs, and loss of corporate knowledge. Training costs and logistics costs will escalate.

More badwill than goodwill evolves from this evolution. Lots of quality employees will leave the workforce, while the less qualified will strengthen their unionized positions.

The military operational costs are also severe.

Up till now we haven’t really seen the enemy operating in our own back yards. Add that into the mix, with domestic enemies competing with foreign enemies, and it’s going to be a new century for our little nation.


28 posted on 03/23/2013 11:57:42 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Cvengr
Thanks for your lengthy reply. Obviously, there are different situations, from muni to county to state to fed, etc. The impact on individuals like you can be disparate. Of course, private industry has its hardships, too, and often the public-private comparison has gotten out-of-whack recently. We (not you and me, but the nation) are having a healthy, important, and overdue discussion now; my question was why pay-cuts never seem to be part of that debate.

This, from your description, doesn't sound as though it has much applicability to your situation, but an example is the schoolteacher making $84,000 annually for nine/ten months' work who complained to Gov. Christie; he responded, "So, go do something else!" That's the boat we're all in.

29 posted on 03/23/2013 12:06:55 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

I haven’t noticed a reduction in services from any government agency. Even with the mandatory furloughs. I’d say, just terminate the workers that aren’t needed.


30 posted on 03/23/2013 1:20:03 PM PDT by redreno (Americans don't go Gault. Americans go Postal.)
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To: redreno
I agree completely. That's the logic of this: if we can get away with using furloughed staff, we're over-staffed!
31 posted on 03/23/2013 1:39:19 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6
Even better, how about WI Act 10 style reforms? Neuter their union and make them pay a little for their lavish benefits!
32 posted on 03/23/2013 2:01:40 PM PDT by logic101.net (How many more children must die on the alter of "gun free zones"?)
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To: Liaison

You’re right, the lower grades with children are going to get hit hard.


33 posted on 03/23/2013 4:29:13 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (The Cardinals chose wisely.)
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To: Baynative

Totally, different situation, Bay. This isn’t a government shutdown.

If we do get back pay, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong.


34 posted on 03/23/2013 4:31:24 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (The Cardinals chose wisely.)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

You no absolutely NOTHING on how the federal government works. You say a simple wrong solution to a problem. You are a conservative and are supposed to educate people on how it works and you provide information that is not realistic. You CANNOT just lower government workers pay without Congress passing a LAW! They can’t even pass a budget and you expect them to fight the Unions and figure a way to lower pay? Really? Once you give reasonable information that can be used then of course I will be impressed.


35 posted on 03/23/2013 5:29:00 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator

OK, your highness. My, you are certainly a pleasure to discuss things with. How’s everything else going?


36 posted on 03/23/2013 5:56:17 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

Good. I hope things are good with you too. I sorta take government workers personally because I am one...lol. Although I am at the Naval Academy, they lump us all together as a big ugly government worker group. I am sorry for being snarky and nasty.


37 posted on 03/23/2013 6:13:00 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator
Apology accepted.

Have you ever been furloughed? I work in private industry, so we don't furlough--we cut wages. I even had to cut my own wages.

Here's something crazy that I wonder: might someone who is furloughed actually rather take a pay-cut, in order to finish the job? I mean someone with a keen sense of duty, who is conscious of working "as unto the Lord." Having had my rate but not my hours cut, I think that's how I'd feel. What do you think?

38 posted on 03/23/2013 6:41:01 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: SandyInSeattle

I’m eager to learn ... talk to me.


39 posted on 03/23/2013 8:22:40 PM PDT by Baynative (Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.)
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To: PapaBear3625

I’m sure you’ve heard the axiom, “it would require an act of Congress,” for something unlikely to happen.


40 posted on 03/26/2013 6:30:42 AM PDT by Help!
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