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View Diary: NBC/WSJ: People overwhelmingly side with the unions; say leave Medicare, Social Security alone (83 comments)

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  •  I was a state public employee once (1+ / 0-)
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    I worked for the Department of Health as an Environmental Chemist.

    The day I was hired, I was earning 12 days of sick leave and 12 days of vacation per year.  After 5 years that jumps to 18/18.  After 10 years it jumps to 24/24.

    And after accruing 144 hours of unused sick time, any excess could be converted to "flex time", in other words more vacation hours.

    So that would be 48 days of vacation every year.  That's 9.5 weeks per year, almost 2 and a half months of paid vacation, not counting holidays.

    We also got up to 12% of our salary put into a 401k matched by the state, got overtime pay, and the best health insurance around.

    Although I again work for the government, as a post doc on an NIH grant I no longer have a union available to me.  I get zero vacation time, zero sick leave.  Sure, I can take time off here or there, but I'm also expected to work 50-60 hours per week without any overtime, I don't get a 401k or any sort of retirement plan at all, etc.

    As a state employee the benefits were unreasonably lavish, now as a federal employee they're unreasonably sparse.  And yet, when it's time to make cuts, it's the NIH getting cut, not union benefits.

    So, although I'm all for a living wage, there needs to be some semblance of sanity on both ends of the spectrum.

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