March 07, 2011
Last week, USA Today ran a story which painted a very misleading portrait of public service workers in Wisconsin and across the country. AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee responds to this latest example of misinformation in a letter which was printed in Monday's paper:
Weigh factors when comparing pay I was very disappointed that USA TODAY devoted so much space to a misleading portrait of public service workers ("In Wis., private sector pays less," News, Tuesday).
Using information that ignores the education and experience being compared gives a totally false impression to readers. A large number of jobs in the public sector require some form of higher education. Your chart and article do not tell readers that nearly 50% of public employees have college degrees, while only 23% of private-sector employees have them. When specific jobs, education, experience and other factors that affect compensation are taken into account, as the Economic Policy Institute has done, public-sector workers earn considerably less than their private-sector counterparts. Wisconsin public employees, for example, earn 4.8% less in their total compensation than comparable private-sector workers in the state.
You can't compare apples to oranges and expect to come up with a true understanding of the differences in compensation. Gerald W. McEntee, president American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Washington, D.C.