L.A.’s Six-Figure Lifeguards
It’s not clear whether this is an example of President Joe Biden’s repeated vow to create good-paying private-sector union jobs. But it most certainly is an example of how some public-sector unions have engineered lucrative access to government coffers.
As Adam Andrzejewski writes, some Los Angeles County California lifeguards are doing very, very well for themselves, thanks to their union contracts:
Auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found 82 county lifeguards earning at least $200,000 including benefits and seven making between $300,000 and $392,000. Thirty-one lifeguards made between $50,000 and $131,000 in overtime alone.
After 30 years of service, they can retire as young as 55 on 79% of their pay. The Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association makes all this possible. Since 1995 the union has bargained for better wages, hours, benefits and working conditions.
Over the past five years, lifeguard captain Daniel Douglas brought home $630,000 in overtime alone. His total employment costs in 2019 were $368,668—$140,706 base bay, $131,493 in overtime, $21,760 in “other pay” and $74,709 in benefits.
That’s not bad at all. And yes, the work can be exceedingly dangerous, and absolutely, some lifeguards have exceptional training.
But making more than California’s governor is a very bad look. Though to be fair, L.A.’s lifeguards probably did more good, even during periods when the beaches were closed, than Gov. Gavin Newsom over the past year.