Newspaper article News Sentinel

Outsourcing State Jobs Will Harm Workers

Newspaper article News Sentinel

Outsourcing State Jobs Will Harm Workers

Article excerpt

One analysis suggests that this specific outsourcing plan will cost the state more than $284 million in lost wages and benefits, a loss of approximately 1,200 jobs, and an additional 4,000 higher education workers experiencing reduced pay and benefits.

If we look carefully at Gov. Bill Haslam's yearlong plot to outsource 10,000 Tennessee workers' jobs in higher education, state parks, prisons, hospital and armories, it becomes immediately clear that not only will outsourcing hurt working people, but that this process is proceeding with absolutely no transparency.

Outsourcing these state jobs will badly hurt Tennessee, already the state with the largest percentage of minimum-wage jobs in the nation. Researchers of privatization consistently find that outsourced jobs have lower pay, benefits and security. The requests for proposals just released for bids on this work make it clear that this is the only way multinational corporations can undercut costs. With privatization, not only does work quality decline, but the savings are usually not realized. Outsourcing estimates consistently hide additional costs to governments and taxpayers. One University of Tennessee official quoted in the Tennessean found that outsourcing would not cover services during athletic and other special events, and it would impose additional costs because projects such as recycling would not be covered.

Outsourcing also harms local small- and mid-sized suppliers of goods to government when they subsequently lose that business to large multinational corporations. One analysis suggests that this specific outsourcing plan will cost the state more than $284 million in lost wages and benefits, a loss of approximately 1,200 jobs, and an additional 4,000 higher education workers experiencing reduced pay and benefits. This same analysis suggests that more than 900 workers will be affected at UTK alone. Documents also demonstrate that UT facilities workers are already performing important work for costs less than the estimated price to be paid by private services.

But we can't really know how much UT and other state workers genuinely save in citizens' money because of the dark cloud under which the outsourcing process has been conducted. In response to legislative and other requests for an audit, the Haslam administration hired a firm to do an "independent review" of the costs and benefits. …

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