“The real numbers show that the average public sector employee on the state and local level earns less than one with similar qualifications doing a similar job in the private sector,” said Joseph Dorant, president of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists and co-chairperson of Working Massachusetts. “This further debunks the myths that public worker's paychecks and benefits are excessive or out of line with the private sector.”

“This should help the public understand that the pundits rumblings about overpaid and rich public employees are not telling the whole story or the truth,” said Ron Patenaude, president of UAW Local 2322 and Working Massachusetts co-chairperson. “We deliver services that benefit everyone and that real people care about. It was the bankers and corporate giants who caused the ongoing fiscal crisis that cost our friends, families and neighbors their jobs and homes. Payment for correcting these injustices should be put on them, not on the backs of hard-working public employees.”

The Economic Policy Institute report, Debunking the Myth of the Overcompensated Public Employee: the Evidence, finds that state and local government workers are compensated an average 3.75% less than similar workers in the private sector. The EPI study also finds that the benefits state and municipal workers receive do not offset their lower wages.

Meanwhile, the Political Economy Research Institute, an independent unit of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, released The Wage Penalty for State and Local Government Employees in New England. On the surface, said the PERI report’s authors, the average state or local government worker earns higher wages than the average private sector worker, but that is because the public sector workers are, on average, older and substantially better educated than their private sector equivalents. In other words, if you compared two workers of the same age and level of experience, the public sector worker earns less than the private sector worker.