Wisconsin Public Union Members Should Feel Lucky to Have Jobs

At a time of 9 percent unemployment, Wisconsin's public worker should be grateful for having jobs and benefits at all.

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When debating public policy it’s important to understand your opponents’ point of view, even if you don’t always agree.

But try as I may, I do not understand why Wisconsin union members are so bent out of shape.

I also question their actions--actions they claim are for the betterment of democracy and society as a whole.

Before the teachers had a massive call-out sick day earlier this week, requiring school districts to close, did they think about the parents they affected who had to either scramble to find last minute (read: expensive) day care or stay home from work (read: lose pay) in order to care for their children who otherwise should have been in school? Furthermore, why punish the students, the people teachers claim to teach for, by bailing on them to promote their own personal interests? To me, this is nothing short of selfish.

Their argument for collective bargaining when it comes to health insurance and wages baffles me. Every job I have ever held, the company said you are receiving x salary and y benefits. Sure I could say (and did) I want more money, and it was up to them to accept the request. If they didn’t, it was up to me to decide whether I wanted the job or not. Same goes for benefits, I could either take what they offered or not take anything at all. Having been laid off twice, I would be grateful for any salary and any benefits, because something is better than nothing. In this time of economic challenges, I would think most would agree with me, especially those who claim to represent the workers. [See editorial cartoons about the economy.]

And what about the lawmakers who just decided to up and bail on their responsibility by going AWOL and leaving the state? Since when does anyone who doesn’t like their work duties get the luxury of just walking away? These members should have stayed in Madison and fought for what they believed in. Stunts like crossing a state line and tweeting about doing the people’s business is just that, a stunt. It’s something you expect from a high school student who was found guilty of stealing the rival’s mascot, not of your elected leaders.

In a democracy you debate the issues. You have votes up or down. Should Democrats be able to bring measures to the floor opposing the governor’s plans? Yes. But should they be expected to show up and do their jobs, regardless of whether they like the outcome? Absolutely. [ See the 10 best cities to find a job.] Look I am not anti-union per say. I am anti special treatment, and that’s what all these actions scream to me. In this economy, all should sacrifice. The governor should take a pay cut. The legislators should take pay cuts too. The problem facing our country today, and not just in Wisconsin, is there is no shared sacrifice. The higher ups make cuts but forget about including themselves in the mix. And the workers seem to forget that with unemployment rates over 9 percent, they should be grateful to have jobs and benefits at all.

  • See editorial cartoons about the economy.
  • See the 10 best cities to find a job.
  • See editorial cartoons about the Democrats.