The governor of the state of Wisconsin is addressing his state’s budget deficit by attempting to limit the collective bargaining rights of both state employees and teachers. Furthermore, he is also attempting to have those employees contribute a small percentage of their wages to their health care benefits and retirement benefits. At present, those employees contribute little or nothing to a very generous benefits package they receive.
Across the breadth of the United States Jewish community, there is undoubtedly outrage directed at the Republican governor who is attempting to reduce the budget deficit on the backs of hardworking state workers and teachers by reducing their benefits and eliminating some of their collective bargaining rights.
Before the American Jewish community becomes too exercised by the actions of the governor, the following information should be ascertained about various Jewish institutions and organizations, national and local, throughout the United States: Do employees of Jewish agencies, the teachers, day care workers, social workers, as well as office and other support staff receive a commensurate salary to government employees employed in comparable federal, state and local governmental positions?
Are the employees and their families employed by American Jewish agencies and organizations provided with a benefits-rich medical package provided by their employers with little or no out-of-pocket cost to their employees? Furthermore, are generous medical packages extended to retired employees and their families employed at an agency for a requisite number of years?
Are the employees of American Jewish agencies and organizations provided with a generous retirement package commensurate with government employees in similar positions and with similar years of service?
And most important, are the employees of Jewish agencies and organizations not only allowed, but encouraged by both Jewish leaders and organizational end users, to unionize, and enter into collective bargaining agreements with their employers?
If the answer to any or all of the above questions is no, then moral outrage and indignity should not be directed at the governor of Wisconsin. As they say, charity (as well as so-called ”economic and social justice”) begins at home.