Bargaining rights for public employees are the reason state deficits have exploded.
If you haven’t read the column “The Shameful Attack on Public Employees” by former U.S. Labor Secretary, author and professor of public policy Robert Reich, now is the time. We’ve posted it on www.nysut.org. Reich takes this myth head-on: “In fact there’s no relationship between those states whose employees have bargaining rights and states with big deficits. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights — Nevada, North Carolina and Arizona, for example — are running giant deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many that give employees bargaining rights — Massachusetts, New Mexico and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent. Public employees should have the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions, just like all employees do.”
It’s curious, he writes, that when it comes to sacrifice, railings by Republicans don’t include the richest people in America. “To the contrary, they insist the rich should sacrifice even less, enjoying even larger tax cuts that expand public-sector deficits. That means fewer services, and more pressure on public employee wages and benefits. It’s only the average workers — both in the public and private sectors — who are being called on to sacrifice.”