Pay your own pension
Decades ago, there was a definite need for unions. But now, there are hundreds of laws that protect employees from abusive bosses. The protection now needed is for the people who work in the private sector from being abused by the unions.
Type “what does California owe in pensions” into Google and you’ll get an eyeful. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle said, “pensions and retiree health promises for state workers are an unfunded pension liability of $96 billion as of June 2009.”
We have a bankrupt state. Where is this money supposed to come from? Like usual, I’m sure union workers will want to raise taxes on everyone to fund their retirements, but wait a minute. Is the state funding my health care and retirement? No. So let’s level the playing field. Union workers, you pay for your own retirements and your own health care like the rest of us. Face it, the state is broke.
Disparity in benefits
Californians should read a recent article published on Feb. 24 in The Wall Street Journal titled, “The Public Worker Gravy Train,” which analyzes the total benefits received between public and private workers in California.
The article indicates that public employees in California receive 30 percent more in overall benefits than private employees. California residents deserve to know the truth about compensation while we debate the issues of reining in public worker compensation and benefits.
William R. Sheehy
San Luis Obispo
The politics of “governors versus public unions” is a masterful retargeting of public anger away from Wall Street, where fake “financial engineering” resulted in fraudulent securities that triggered our recession. Those responsible received bonuses and bailouts instead of jail time.
Many political leaders and pundits would now redirect our rage, insisting that contracts with public workers and their unions are to blame for our debt crisis. They insist that, although benefits may “trickle down” in good times, sacrifice should seldom, if ever, “trickle up!” Hostility is redirected toward the teacher, the nurse, the fireman and the cop.
Our leadership was not always this way. George Washington was once toasted by his sworn enemy, King George III, as “the greatest man in the world” for his sacrifice of power for our republic. This legacy has served us well.
Perhaps there remain some leaders and administrators who value Washington’s example, who will “demonstrate sacrifice” before demanding it.
San Luis Obispo
When I read Mike Morgan’s letter, I couldn’t help but think that the biggest house on the block belongs to the corporate CEO and his political cronies (“End arbitration,” Feb. 25). The protests happening in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and maybe California are about maintaining the union’s right to collectively bargain.
The public employees have already said, “It’s not about the money, take it. But we want to know we can bargain if we need to.” The problem is we had some greedy unions that thought it was their job to get as much as possible and that was just irresponsible.
Which begs the question, why doesn’t anyone ask the CEOs of these companies to not take huge bonuses and instead, reinvest that money into the company in order to create jobs?
If politicians stopped giving millions in corporate tax breaks and CEOs stopped taking huge bonuses, there would be plenty of money to pay public employees adequately, reinvest in their industry and create jobs.
Instead, no one wants to tell the “fat cats” to learn to live on what most people won’t make in their entire lifetime. And the other side thinks we are entitled and elitist? That’s pretty funny to me.
Reason for unions
Regarding the recent uproar concerning public service unions: Historically, unions came about because of management’s uncaring, unresponsiveness toward workers. Child labor, sweatshops and seven days of long hours all eventually brought about the creation of unions.
In companies where managers are concerned about their workers, pay them a decent wage and give them a clean and safe working environment, unions most often do not exist.
The phrase “public service union” is a contradiction of terms. Historically, most people went to work for the government because of the reasonable pay and benefits such as vacations, health care and retirement. For this, they gave up unions. Not so today, sadly.
The same can be said for tenure in educational institutions. Tenure is/was necessary because of administration’s unresponsiveness to the ones who are really the reason for the institution’s existence, the students and the teachers.
James L. Murphy