You know, I have to admit. I used to be one of those people. I used to think that people who worked in Government....local, state, federal....had it made. Good pay, easy job--maybe even a job where you could feel like you were accomplishing something, great benefits, and you worked for "the people," and they cared about you. You would find compassion, understanding, kinship, and have a solid place to stay and work until it came time to take advantage of your fantastic retirement benefits.
Then I went to work for the state.....and man, I couldn't have been more wrong. I have been here just over 2 years now. Long before I came on board, in fact just after our Governor took office, he rescinded state employees' right of collective bargaining (http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/1409). This year was the first year that state employees have recieved any sort of raise at all in several years, via a very flawed system ( http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20101221/NEWS07/101229913----- hint, hint...I know of MAYBE 2 or 3 people who got EXCEEDS on their reviews.....OUTSTANDING isn't even an option on our forms....so 98% of employees got the lowest raise possible).
Of course, this year they also changed our insurance.....raising our rates, lowering our coverage, and putting us through an audit process that caused many people to lose coverage for family members or to go through a prolonged battle over what information was required, who was eligible, etc. ( https://extranet.idem.in.gov/?section=news&page=announce_20100707) .
I have been in the working world for nearly 30 years.....at least 20 0f those in some sort of office/administrative position. For my experience and position, I am sadly underpaid---as are most of my co-workers.
Now, several of our state legislators have run away from home....gone off to Illinois in protest of several pieces of legislation on the floor. (http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-pat-bauer-bauer-returns-to-indiana-20110302,0,2659478.story). I am torn about this....on the one hand, I completely understand that this is their right....they want to block a vote, and being a minority, this is how they choose to do it. But, they are state employees just like me! For a session of between 3-4 months, they are paid MORE than what I make a year....( http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Indiana_General_Assembly) along with their per diem, and the fact that most if not all of them have other employment, or don't NEED other employment. And perks? Please.
My question, then, is this: I am a state employee, the same as Rep. Joe Schmoe....so, if I don't want to work on a particular day, or on a particular issue, can I just run away to another state? Of course not! I can't even use a sick day for a vacation day or a personal day. So, why is this ok? If you want to fight for or against something, stand up and do it! That's what you were elected to do...that's what you are PAID to do!
Supporting the rights of the working people is absolutely the right thing to do. Alienating them at the same time? Not so cool.