I have worked for Social Security for 20 years and these times are as disturbing as any I have seen. The Reagan years were disturbing and I was not yet a Federal employee. The Clinton year brought Partnership, an explosion in contracting out and the loss of several hundred thousand jobs, and Bush-Cheney aggressively attacked federal employees and federal unions. The elections of last fall brought more aggression, more attacks, more vitriol, and less respect for public servants at all levels of government. The events in WI, OH, IN and other states is a concerted effort to undermine the middle-class and create further dependency and vulnerability to the upper-class, the wealthiest among us who have little regard for the labor that has made them wealthy, whether it be domestic or foreign. We shouldn’t shy away from embracing the fact that there is a class war in this country and it has been made against workers for the last four decades. We are losing but we are not lost if we band together and identify our common interests, public and private, and name the common interests of the upper class and monied powers (control, greed, hierarchical authority structures, monopolistic economic structures, limited information, etc.). WI shows all of there is hope and that hope is cultivated in standing together and refusing to be run over by the money behind the Tea party and the Republican Party.
As federal employees and public servants it is important to communicate what we do every day to serve the American people. We must talk among ourselves and we must take credit with friends, family and neighbors for the service given to retirees, the disabled, the poor, the wounded, the survivors of the war dead, food safety, drug safety, border safety, prison guarding, and defense system accounting, military support, housing and many others. We are not overpaid for what we do and our society is perfectly capable of affording decent pay, fair benefits for its public servants at local, state and federal levels. It is a matter of priorities and allowing wealth and income to continue to concentrate in the top 2% of society is a priority of a minority of citizens–it is a priority that we cannot afford and it must be dropped down the list–now.
The war against public employees is a new front in the class war. They have already severely damaged the private sector jobs and worker unions and now the rich and powerful want to remove the public sector as a class of people who have something they don’t–a union movement that values social justice and a base from which to speak truth against injustice and economic theft. It is something they do not own and cannot own so they are intent on destroying what we have–unions that allow us to speak more effectively against economic theft, theft that once again was manifest in the Wall Street led economic meltdown of 2008. We are expected to borrow money to pay for their mistakes, watch passively as profits mount, and kiss our decent-paying jobs goodbye to pay for the theft they promulgated on the American economy and people.
Lets stand together and say No and do whatever it takes to shine a light on the injustice of their system and their politicians, the politcos in WI, OH, IN and Washington who want to break the economic back of the middle class and identify public servant unions as a roadblock to be destroyed, swept away, so the laboring classes are forced to accept any terms they offer. And make no mistake the offering will be crumbs, it will not be the benefits we have fought hard to preserve and protect for so many decades.
AFGE Local 3448 President
Social Security Administration, Ohio