We Will Now All Be Equally Screwed

YAY!

Bertolini is just one of tens of thousands of public workers in Wisconsin without union contracts who have faced reduced buying power in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker’s landmark legislation — unveiled one year ago this week — to balance the budget by curtailing union collective bargaining and extracting financial concessions from workers.

Private sector workers have lost jobs and suffered pay and benefit cuts in recent years, and many are used to going without pensions, paying into retirement accounts and paying more for health insurance. But the erosion in public worker benefits happened suddenly, prompting massive protests at the Capitol, sparking recall efforts against Walker and lawmakers and transforming the state into a national battleground over the future of unions.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie blamed the budgeting practices of previous administrations, and said the higher insurance premiums and pension contributions prevented layoffs while keeping taxes down, cutting state costs at a rate of $308 million a year. Another $65 million in annual savings are expected from higher health care co-pays that started Jan. 1, Werwie said.

“Asking government employees to contribute to a portion of their pension and health care costs, far less than the average person in the private sector pays, helped keep thousands of workers on the job, while thousands of Wisconsinites have seen property tax relief for the first time in years,” Werwie said.

The “shared sacrifices” brought government more in line with private business, said Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon.

“Although it’s tough, it’s also been tough on the private sector, people who are unemployed now,” Fitzgerald said. “Obviously, it’s a highly charged issue.”

You guys, it’s so much better now that NOBODY is protected in any way. It’s so great. See, the point is to make a society in which everybody (except for like five guys who run stuff) is equally screwed. That way a maintenance worker can’t give a teacher any shit for his fantastic salary, because he’s just as bad off as she is. And an office park dweller has no pension, but it’s okay, because neither does the guy who processes his unemployment claims! PROBLEM SOLVED! It’s like magic how that works.

A.

4 thoughts on “We Will Now All Be Equally Screwed

  1. reddhedd65 says:

    What is not discussed here is that for many years publicly-employed workers accepted lower base pay and no opportunity for bonuses or other means of increasing their base pay with the understanding that benefits like sick leave and pensions would help make their entire package somewhat comparable to the private sector. It’s only in down times that a public employee’s job looks good to most people in the private sector — otherwise, they would disdain to hold a public job. Additionally, no one forced state and local governments to agree to these benefits packages for public employees.

  2. virgotex says:

    “What is not discussed here is that for many years publicly-employed workers accepted lower base pay and no opportunity for bonuses or other means of increasing their base pay with the understanding that benefits like sick leave and pensions would help make their entire package somewhat comparable to the private sector.”
    Exactly. Those of us in the public sector CHOSE to work there. Other people CHOSE something else.
    Choices have consequences. The people who chose to live and die by the market are are now looking around for a solution need to sack up and accept their consequences rather than trying to level the playing field by taking away from the benefits of others who almost certainly have a lower base pay in return for the benefits.

  3. pansypoo says:

    and who benefits? low wage publican crapitalists. we just dumped progress for TAX CUTS.

  4. Dan says:

    During the SB 5 /Issue 2 campaign last year I was at a meeting where one of the folks – a member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) – relayed the following: In the prior round of contract negotiations the Kent State AAUP chapter negotiated ahigher health care payment for themselves in order for the (lower paid) Kent State AFSCME folks to hold the line ontheir premiums. Issue 2 would have nixedthat kind of collective bargaining as well.
    Meaningful, substantive gestures like that are more possible with collective bargaining. Displays of basic, fundamental goddamned decency. THAT’S what the right wants to squash like a bug. It wants everyone to be a hoarder, for everyone to jealously guard their scraps, and to be deeply suspicious of everyone else. It wants all of us forever casting paranoid glances over our shoulders, and for each of us to be the smallest, meanest people we can possibly be.
    That’s what we’re up against.

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