Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Is There Something in the Water?

La Crosse, Wisconsin officials will now be enforcing a sick leave policy on public employees. Why?

According to the report, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 180 had about 2.5 times more “occurrences” of sick leave in 2006 than nonunion or Municipal Transit Utility union employees. Occurrences refer to each period of sick leave, not individual days used; for example, 21/2 days of consecutive sick leave is one occurrence.

Members of the SEIU — which includes general employees but not supervisors — had an average of 8.3 occurrences of sick leave in 2006, compared with 2.7 occurrences for nonunion employees and 3.3 for MTU union employees. Averages in the past five years were within similar ranges.

That’s actually a rate of 3 times the level of non-union employees taking sick leave. Not sure what to make of this.

UPDATE (9:35 a.m.): A reader writes in response to this post: “You’re kidding me, right? La Crosse, with the most bars per capita in the country?” Though I wasn’t aware of the drinking angle, it would provide at least one plausible answer (and make my title somewhat ironic).