WARNING: For any of you that might not be pro-labor or pro-worker's rights, please stop reading. For any of you that are anti-union, please also stop reading.
So by now those of you that spend any time perusing the news have heard about what Governor Walker is trying to do to public sector worker's rights in Wisconsin. You may also have heard that this cancerous way of thinking is spreading out to Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, and this sort of legislation has already been introduced here in California.
Let me tell you something about all this that you might not know. Unions brought you child labor laws, and the 5 day work week. Unions have helped spread democracy in their own way as well has given a lot of downtrodden workers a voice and a vote in their future. That's what collective bargaining rights are, the right to vote on whether or not you'll accept certain terms from your employer on wages and benefits, among other things. Many of you probably work in the private sector, where you're given a salary for the work you do, and benefits as dictated by your employer. I'm also sure many of you (manz, for one) bust your asses and get paid less than some people in your office do who fuck off every day. Being unionized means that you get paid what has been previously voted on, and you and your co-workers negotiate the benefits you get. Everyone gets what's fair. And wouldn't it be awesome to be able to vote on whether or not you're okay with the rate of pay you're given? Or how much your employer contributes to your healthcare?
Let's move onto pensions. First of all, a defined benefit where you 100% for sure get money for the rest of your life until you die after you retire is fucking awesome. Most of us in my generation know that social security isn't going to be around for us to take advantage of when we get old enough. But being able to work for years in your chosen career and then know that you're getting a defined amount of money every month...well, I'd say that would take a load of everyone's shoulders when planning for the future. A 401k is some bullshit. It's basically you giving your employer money to gamble on Wall Street. They can decide to make risky decisions or not, but either way it's a gamble. When the stock market crashed, manz lost his almost his entire 401k, and he had several thousand dollars in there. GTFOHWTBS. I'll take a pension any day. And keep in mind people, pensions are paid into by the employee as well, not just the employer. Public employee pensions are not money that they get for free. They contribute as well.
So. Where does that leave us? Well, down here in San Diego, it's pretty damned conservative, and all the local government wants to do is say they've achieved "pension reform" in the county and so now there's this attack on public employees and their benefits. It's some crazy shit, hearing these extreme right wing conservatives talk shit about the very programs they'll be getting a piece of. It's also crazy to hear them talk shit about their employees. I mean, really? Everyone has this idea that government employees are lazy and stupid and sit on their asses all day. Well let me tell you, people do that in every fucking office, no matter where you work. Right now I bet there's some dumbass in your department that doesn't do shit, and you have to pull his/her weight. That's not something that strictly happens in the public sector.
What I do know about public employees is that they're people. Most work hard, some don't. Some get treated well, some don't. They're not all sitting around collecting exorbitant salaries and pensions, though. Most of the ones I know bust their asses. I represented a crew of Public Works guys that got called out 12 times on Christmas Day because of the rain that was happening here. I know social workers who are so overwhelmed and overworked and understaffed that they're working several hours a week overtime without logging that time or getting paid for it. THOSE are the public employees I know about, and I respect them immensely, as well as all the good work they do, because it is them that makes this county a nice one to live in.
Throughout all this, it's nice to know that 4chan/anonymous has been aware and active. They've released a couple of open letters over the last few days that I believe are worth a serious read. The first is an open letter to the Citizens of the United States of America, talking about the Koch brothers and their funding of the Tea Party as well as the union busting activities in Wisconsin. Today, they've released another awesome open letter to the World, which got me super fired up and made my little activist heart happy. Check that letter out here. To the Koch brothers, FUCK YO' PRODUCTS! Pass the word on and Kochblock the following:
Figures they'd make shit to wipe your ass on, amirite?