Media Advisory: Policy brief analyzes California’s state and local workers’ wages, benefits

Contact: Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
(510) 643-5651
kmaclay@berkeley.edu

ATTENTION: Reporters covering state and local government, public finance, employment and politics

WHAT

A teleconference with the authors of “The Truth about Public Employees in California: They are Neither Overpaid nor Overcompensated,” a new policy brief being published by the Center on Wages and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE). The study addresses how pay and benefits of public sector employees in California compare to those in the private sector.

The current hot-button issue of whether public sector workers – from public school teachers to health care workers and librarians – are overpaid has been raised in California’s gubernatorial race, as well as in other general election contests across the country as the nation continues to grapple with a sluggish economy and painfully high unemployment.

WHEN

10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 18

WHERE

Credentialed reporters wishing to participate in the teleconference need to contact Kathleen Maclay in UC Berkeley Media Relations at (510) 643-5651 or kmaclay@berkeley.edu for call-in information and to receive a copy of the policy brief. It is embargoed until 10 a.m. PST on Monday, Oct. 18.

WHO

Researchers Sylvia Allegretto, an economist and deputy chair of the ILRE’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, and Jeffrey H. Keefe, an associate professor of labor and employment relations at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations.

DETAILS

This is the first study to specifically assess and compare the pay and benefits of California’s public and private sector workforces. Several national studies have included California in their wage analyses, but none have addressed total compensation, which includes pay and benefits.

In short, wages received by California public employees are about 7 percent lower, on average, than wages received by comparable private sector workers, the study says. However, when benefits are taken into account, there is no significant difference in the level of employee total compensation costs between private and public sector workers in California. The policy brief researchers report that results provide strong evidence that California public employees are not over-compensated when compared to similar, private sector workers.

This regression-adjusted analysis includes controls for numerous factors, such as annual hours of work, worker educational attainment, occupation, years of experience, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, organizational size and industry.