Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who benefits?

This quote, and the thinking that created it, confuses me:
"When Erin McFarlane looks at public workers, she sees lucrative pension benefits she doesn't ever expect to get. And it makes her mad.  "I don't think that a federal employee or government employee is worth any more than anybody else who does their job and does it well," said the Slinger, Wis., woman. She's been working a couple of bartending jobs since January, when she was laid off from her job at a Harley Davidson plant after almost a decade.  She's not alone in seeing public servants as public enemies in some ways.  It's a case of pension envy."
Maybe Erin is angry because her union failed her when management at Harley Davidson decided to restructure after "Harley-Davidson experienced the biggest drop in value. The “legend’s” value dropped by 43% to $4.34 billion, which is most likely connected to the 66% drop in the company profits in two quarters of the last year."

Perhaps the threat of plant closings and turning full time workers into part-time workers has something to do with Harley-Davidson, an iconic American brand, opening up factories in India. As long as we continue to espouse the wonders of free trade and globalization, let's also espouse the wonders of fair trade, environmental regulation, and worker's rights. Without a global campaign against human and environmental exploitation, the Erin McFarlane's of the world will be left angry, underemployed and wondering why they don't have pensions, health care or a chance at employment.

Why are U.S. government workers the only strong unions left in America? Because they are the only ones whose jobs can't be outsourced to India or China. The only threat is privatization, and that hasn't worked very well in Wisconsin. So rather than turn on the last few people in the U.S. willing to stand up for their right to a decent paying job with benefits, why don't you join them, Erin?

I don't know any union members who are millionaires, but I know plenty of billionaires who aren't paying their fare share.

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