(From LPI-OK report)
Fox Lawson and Associates is a private human resources consulting firm based in St. Paul, Minnesota that has been retained by government entities across the nation to review the pay structures of public employees and offer recommendations for restructuring and reclassification. Tulsa’s Mayor Dewey Bartlett has recently ear-marked hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars for the retention of the Fox Lawson firm, as well as several other private consulting companies. This report was prepared to determine whether or not the Fox Lawson company has been hired to benefit the tax-payers and municipal employees of the City of Tulsa, or if this company’s focus is to provide “research” that will facilitate pre-existing plans designed to enrich private developers and contracting companies at the public’s expense.
A review of Fox Lawson and Associate’s reports reveals that the company is generally retained as the first step in a series of actions taken to cut wages to public sector workers based on “findings” from pay surveys. In virtually every instance where the Fox Lawson company has been retained, its findings have been the same: the company recommends a merit-based pay structure, or “pay for performance programs” and employee reclassifications that result in cuts to pay-scales negotiated by unionized workers. This is a policy that has been strongly supported by anti-union politicians in the region for several years. In January, 2011 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s office published a document supporting the use of pay-for-performance as a first step toward cutting wages to public sector workers...
Marathon County, Wisconsin Case study
Marathon County, Wisconsin is one of the wealthiest counties in the state of Wisconsin. In May of this year (2012), the politicians of Marathon approved an $80,000 contract with Fox Lawson to perform “the classification and compensation study.” According to a report from Managing director of the consulting firm, Jim Fox: “[T]he study will evaluate job descriptions to make sure they are current and compare what other employers in the public and private sector are paying for similar jobs. The analysis will include how much employees pay toward their health care and retirement.”… In essence, these ‘evaluations’ are used to justify pay policies that result in consistent cuts in wages. Ultimately, this logic leads to a “race to the bottom” for workers because it is based on the notion that wages should be market-driven. In reality, however, wages – like all other employment policies – are not market driven; rather, they are decided by employers…not “markets”. “Market” rhetoric implies the objective of doing away with union contracts. In the instance of Marathon County, Wisconsin, where Fox Lawson was hired to “review” pay and job classifications, the final result was significant decreases in wages and cuts in benefits for public sector workers who are already feeling the strains of previous cuts. Approximately 7,000 Marathon public employees lost an average of $2,000 in take-home pay as well as benefits. Cuts not only have adverse effects on the workers’ families, but on the over-all condition of the local economy. According to projections, the budget cuts and redirection of tax-funds to private projects justified by Fox and Lawson “research” has damaged local economies and led to more small business closings and job losses.
To request a complete copy of this report, please contact the AFSCME Local 1180 Hall