A well-known quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer talks about several groups of people singled out for persecution; because he was not a member of that group he did not speak out. …“And when they came for me there was no one left to speak out for me.” Well I am speaking out. Blaming state workers for the economy and lack of jobs reminds me of just such persecution as the minister, writer and martyr wrote about.
If not for the support of Governor Dayton, we might be even worse off and our rights and jobs run roughshod over by the Republican steam roller, like what is happening in Wisconsin. State workers are not the problem. Getting rid of all of us would not solve the deficit. We are not paid huge salaries as ‘they’ would have you believe. We have repeatedly taken no raises in order to keep or minimize decreases in benefits. Yet those benefits are not secure and come under fire every two years when our contract is up. In the 12 years I have been a state worker, I have not experienced any gains in benefits, only losses, with more out of pocket expenses and no cost of living raises to compensate for it.
State workers are everyday people who work hard. They are your neighbors. They pay taxes, struggle to pay their bills, and buy groceries. They should not be used as scapegoats for a generalized anger looking for a focus. Let’s work together and use some common sense to improve our lives, not blame anyone except those elected officials who refuse stubbornly to do so and compromise. We have compromised. We have negotiated. Let our lawmakers do the same.