Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stop bashing public sector employees

I get tired of all the “public sector employee” bashing by people who know nothing about the workload and responsibilities these people carry, or simply classify all of them under their idiotic attitude that government shouldn’t exist.
In Dallas, scores of teachers camped out overnight on Saturday to be the first in line to accept the Dallas ISD’s offer of a $10,000 payment to induce retirement at the end of the current school year. In all, the “retirement fund” totals $7.3 MILLION - that’s a bunch of teachers getting out.
Mind you, with the plight of EVERY district in Texas, taking the payment means you’re done as an educator. No other districts will be adding staff; almost ALL of them will freeze hiring or cut back.
It begs the question: if you’re a teacher, would you take that Dallas ISD monetary “incentive?”
It won’t be as bad (hopefully) as Providence, RI, which pink-slipped the ENTIRE teacher staff of that city ... EVERYONE got a notice of termination because the city (which runs the schools) couldn’t figure out at this point in time how to pay anyone. Think about how you’d feel with that prospect stewing in your head for weeks on end, while STILL expected to perform your job at the highest level imaginable.
When people start bitching about how “good” teachers got it, in the workplace, and how they ONLY teach 9-10 months of the year, and have ALL these invisible benefits, active teachers should tell them the truth (even if they refuse to listen to facts instead of political propaganda) and tell them to spend one WEEK in their shoes in a classroom – facing those students, their parents, those administrators and school boards.
No one would take that offer ... too scared of the prospect of facing what these underpaid, underappreciated, disrespected, but unbelievably important pieces of the social puzzle see every day.
And that tells you everything you even need to know. Remember that before you utter another false, insincere word about teachers, police, fireman, EMTs, AND the person who checks your utility account to make sure your water or gas won’t be cut off because your dog ate the invoice.
And can the bashing about the receptionist who faces the minute-by-minute verbal abuse from utility customers, seldom nice on the phone to discuss some problem; or the municipal worker (in Dallas making minimum wage, mind you) to collect your stinky garbage; or fixing aging water lines that break in the middle of a blizzard so others can drink and bathe; or those who do hundreds of different positions at LESS than market value (sorry, but you read correctly – the public sector pays LESS than the private sector and my household is a shining example).
In many cases, public sector unions have foregone pay raises in exchange for the pension benefits – to get their earned income LATER rather than immediately. They are ALL middle-class members (no one is getting rich working for local-state or federal governments) so bashing them is ... kind of un-American, don’t you agree?
Here in Texas, there are “unions” – for the purpose of collective bargaining – exist only for those cities where civil service has been approved by voters (and fought tooth and nail by every city administration because it removes the “take it or leave it” attitude than management loves to possess). Teachers in Texas cannot strike because, technically, they are “state” employees since Austin provides school districts with the funds for each teacher’s base salary. And in Texas, state employees cannot strike.
I just find it incredible that people, who have jobs that are often far from being tagged as “essential” are the same ones demanding that their neighbors be forced to become unemployed. How cruel! How ... un-American!
To me, government is like a lawyer – you despise lawyers ... until you NEED one and then they become your best friend in life. Our government leaves a lot to be desired and our political leaders even less to be desired. But compared to other parts of the world, we look better by the minute.
Whether the United States is actually “exceptional” is a matter for debate, however we are unique. No other nation exists with so many major populated centers spread across vast territory; it’s difficult to govern and tough to unite. But, despite our many problems, people still flock to immigrate here like OUR ancestors did – because of our laws, our government and our opportunity.
Even for public sector employees.

1 comment:

frank said...

Amen! I am sick and tired of hearing people bad mouth public employees. The pay is poor and the working conditions are often intolerable.
My wife teaches 8th graders in a local public school system, and every night I hear about students who wont sit down, wont be quiet, wont do their work, and have no respect for any adults. Not all students are like this, but it only takes one to disrupt a classroom and negatively impact everyone else. What is worse, the parent or guardian who doesn't care or who thinks it is the schools job to teach respect, morality, and common decency.
It is time for those who think that public employees have it easy, to spend a week in the shoes of a teacher, garbage collector, police officer, fire fighter, etc. Discover what it is like to put your life on the line to do a thankless job. Maybe then they will realize that it isn't such an easy job.