Police Officers and Firefighters Are Exceptions to New Public Sector Rules

In recent weeks, Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois has traveled the state promoting his proposal for more than $2 billion in cuts to pensions for public employees. All public employees, that is, except police officers and firefighters, reports The New York Times.

“Those who put their lives on the line in service to our state deserve to be treated differently,” Mr. Rauner said in his February budget address to the state legislature.

By announcing the exemption, Mr. Rauner was following the lead of other Republican governors in the Midwest who have imposed unwelcome changes on state and local employees in the name of saving money and improving services.

In 2011, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin introduced a bill that would roll back collective bargaining rights for government workers and require them to contribute more toward their own pensions and health coverage. He excluded police officers and firefighters from the legislation, known as Act 10, which he signed the following month.

In 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan signed a right-to-work bill, eliminating the requirement that private and public sector workers contribute dues to the unions that represent them, whether or not they are members. The bill included a “carve-out” for police officers and firefighters, which Mr. Snyder supported.

All these exemptions and carve-outs have a popular appeal. Who, after all, would deny the heroism of police officers and firefighters? The hitch, labor experts contend, is that the exemptions lack any substantive merit.

Read more of the story here http://nyti.ms/1xDg2ym

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