LETTER: Reckoning ahead for public unions

Public sector unions have been in the forefront of news lately, whether in Wisconsin, Chicago or here in Seattle.

Unions have been with us for a long time, and historically they have served a vital purpose in correcting abuses and representing employees’ rights.

Their prominence may be waning now, especially in these challenging economic times. It is hard to be sympathetic to a group that can vote for their own pay and benefit increases. Without concerns to abiding to a budget, union members just assume that their requests will be met.

Now salaries and benefits are often noticeably higher than the private sector, in the past jobs in the public sector were usually less, but had inherently more security and there was an implicit agreement to not go on strike, technically it is illegal….well I guess things have changed.

It does require some nerve to demand higher wages and benefits in times of high unemployment. These brazen demands are obviously creating heightened animus between private and public sectors.

I believe their day of reckoning is fast approaching for public sector unions; hard choices will have to be made, due to inevitable strained budgets. Tough, often unpopular decisions will be made in order to secure the continuation health of state and local finances.

The essential bare truth is that we cannot continue to spend more than budgets take in revenue. Public union’s members should not forget that they are our employees that they are paid by our tax dollars. Unchecked abuses from unions can suck lifeblood of a neighborhoods causing devastation and eventual migration, one can merely see an example of Detroit, Michigan once the apple of America’s preverbal eye, now an example of urban blight.

Lately cities have resorted to declaring bankruptcy, so they can renegotiate those unsustainable and irresponsible commitments. But, it’s not going to be pretty…..visions of the Wisconsin mayhem come to mind.

Mark Pitzner

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