Manufacturing job losses in recent decades have hurt Kentucky communities. Despite the claims of proponents of “Right-To-Work” (RTW), which was enacted in Kentucky in 2017, employment data suggests the policy hasn’t led to a hiring boom in manufacturing.
Since 2009, there has been a growing problem in Colorado with increasing employee turnover, programs operating with short staffing forcing employees to work extensive overtime, and low morale that jeopardizes vital public services. The growing turnover is complicated by the difficulty filling authorized positions. Research shows that collective bargaining for public sector employees, coupled with labor management partnerships, has been effective at improving agency performance and reducing employee turnover.
High turnover makes it hard to provide quality service to residents, reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of state agencies, puts a strain on state workers, and burdens taxpayers. Based on a careful review of research on turnover costs, replacing the 4,268 workers who left state government in FY 2017-18 conservatively cost taxpayers $48 million. Research shows that allowing state employees to negotiate with their employer through a collective bargaining process for better pay, benefits, and working conditions will help lower turnover rates, save taxpayers millions, and improve services.
Public workers and retirees make up 11 percent of the adult population of Hawai‘i. Nearly one out of every five adults aged 65 and older is a public worker retiree. Hawai‘i’s state and county governments employ more than 66,000 people who, if they meet eligibility requirements, will eventually receive pension and “other post-employment benefits” (OPEB) such as health insurance coverage in retirement. Over the years, Hawai‘i’s public retirement liabilities have grown as current and promised benefits have outpaced contributions and asset growth to cover them. These retirement costs are sometimes referred to as “unfunded liabilities,” which means that our obligations exceed the funds currently available to pay them.
In this report, we examine the public retirement benefits as a budgetary issue of interest to all Hawai‘i residents, and one that is crucial for policymakers to understand and address effectively. We also identify strategies available to meet public obligations responsibly and equitably.
At a cursory glance, Colorado has much to celebrate in terms of low unemployment and poverty levels, but scratching the surface of the data reveals troubling trends fraught with wage stagnation and disparities.
CCLP produces the State of Working Colorado every year to gauge how the economy is performing for workers across the income spectrum. The publication is intended to help stakeholders and policymakers determine where to focus their efforts in revitalizing opportunities and prosperity for hard-working Coloradans across the racial spectrum.