Wisconsin State Senator Mary Lazich is obviously not among my favorite legislators. Putting aside her outrageous belief that Wal-Mart should run our health care system, I also take issue with the conduct of her staff, including the propensity at least one of her staffers has for abusing his vacation leave.
Given my own problems with Senator Lazich and her leadership style, it should come as no surprise that she was the only State Senator who voted against approving the contracts of every state employee bargaining unit. In justifying her vote against the contracts on her blog, Senator Lazich cited the lagging state economy, as well as pay increases she deemed to be too generous, but a quick look at the numbers says a different story. According to this article, as well as my own personal knowledge of at least one of the contracts Lazich voted against, employees made concessions in order to get the contracts approved:
Under the contracts Doyle signed Monday, state employee contributions to health insurance will increase 15 percent starting in January.
A previously scheduled 2 percent pay increase in July is being cut to just 1 percent.
A 1 percent raise scheduled to take effect in April 2009 also is being eliminated. Instead, workers will get a 2 percent raise in June 2009.
While I don’t have intimate knowledge of the language in each of the contracts, I do know the employees covered under the Professional Social Services contract will receive raises of 2%, 1%, and 2% in each of the three years of the contract, for a total pay increase of 5%. Additionally, those same employees will pay more for their health insurance coverage. Interestingly enough, while Senator Lazich seems to have a problem giving state employees a 5% raise over three years, I’ve yet to hear her complain that she doesn’t deserve the 6.3% raise she’s getting next year.