Public Employee Unions

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS….This single paragraph from the New York Times does a pretty good job of encapsulating the mixed feeling a lot of people probably have about public employee unions:

To control soaring pensions costs, the [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] at first demanded raising the retirement age for future employees to 62. Workers can now retire at age 55, after 25 years on the job, and receive pensions equal to half their earnings. They average $55,000 a year, including overtime.

An average salary of $55,000 a year? That’s fine. Sure, it’s pretty good money, but my guess is that most people are OK with it anyway.

But retiring at age 55, with 25 years on the job, at half salary? I support unions and I support the notion that Americans work too much, but even so that strikes me as indefensible. After all, most people have working lives of 40-50 years, and it’s hard to imagine that they have a lot of sympathy for a deal like that. I have to confess that I don’t.

I don’t really have any bigger point to make here. I just thought I’d toss this out for comments.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation