The PJ Tatler

Pssst: Wanna Get Rich? Become a 'Public Servant'

Time was when “public service” jobs were only for your idiot cousin whom nobody in their right mind would ever hire, not even his dad. But times have changed:

For almost a year, the labor groups representing roughly 20,000 Los Angeles city workers have battled at the bargaining table for people like Marshall Turner.

Turner supports his union. Yet when it comes to his job, he’s not complaining. A 59-year-old garbage-truck driver, he made $95,696 last year including overtime. His three decades of city employment enabled him to buy a four-bedroom Rancho Cucamonga home and provide for five children. He recognizes his privileged place in an economy that has grown increasingly bleak for blue-collar workers. “I feel blessed at the city of Los Angeles,” he said recently over a ramen lunch during a break from collecting trash in South-Central.

He should. Part of the genius of the collectivist Left was to seize the public sectors in the big cities, and turn tax collection into a revolving slush fund that passed first to public-union workers and then back to the politicians who pretend to “negotiate” with them every few years. It’s basically a racket, but it works too well for the few decent Democrats left to complain and too complex for the congentially stupid Republicans to understand. Not thathere are many Republicans in Los Angeles anyway:

That sense of satisfaction is not misplaced — at least not when it comes to his paycheck. Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found.

The analysis, which compared 2014 city and federal wage data, shows that three of the five largest job categories represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 — the biggest and most prominent of the unions now in contract talks with the city — pay more than double the median salary of similar full-time, private-sector jobs in Los Angeles County.

For example, security guards employed by the city last year made a median base salary of $57,501, compared with $23,330 in the private sector. For city janitors, median annual wages were $46,694, compared with $22,750 in the private sector. City gardeners’ median base salary was $55,173; for those doing similar jobs in the private sector, it was $23,250.

Garbage-truck drivers such as Turner, who make up the largest single job category represented by SEIU, last year made a median base salary of $73,707. Those doing the same job in the private sector made a median salary of $43,200.

Read the whole thing and then weep. Why didn’t I go into public service?