Working Mass Responds To Globe Columnist

When the Boston Globe's resident conservative columnist, Jeff Jacoby, trotted out all the myths about unions in his recent piece criticizing union donations to political campaigns, we at Working Massachusetts weren't about to let him stand unchallenged. So we didn't---we wrote this letter to the editor, which is in the November 8, 2010 edition of the Globe

Are Public Employees the New "Welfare Queen" Scapegoats?

An editor and writer at the influential website Alternet argues that public sector employees are today's "welfare queens"--scapegoats and boogeymen for the nation's economic ills. In his piece, "Right-Wingers Using Public Employees as 21st-Century Welfare Queens," Joshua Holland says, 

The image of the overpaid public sector worker with fat retirement benefits offers a compelling storyline for the Right. But it's a complete fabrication. [emphasis added]

Holland talks about "analysis by anecdote," delves into the studies that debunk the myth of the "rich" public employee, and reveals how bad things get for workers when public functions are privatized. He also makes this startling point about how Americans have been led to think of public employees:

The Right has made great political progress getting Americans to ask the question: "How come that guy’s getting what I don’t have?" It’s the crux of the politics of grievance. Progressives need to get Americans to ask a different question: "What’s keeping me from getting what that guy has?" At least part of the answer is the Right’s decades-long assault on private sector workers’ ability to organize.

State DEP, Springfield DPW Use "Candid Camera" to Catch Illegal Dumpers


People who dump trash illegally in Springfield can now be seen on a new version of "Candid Camera," but they're not smiling--they're getting caught and fined, thanks to the teamwork of MOSES members at the state's Department of Environmental Protection and Springfield's Department of Public Works employees.

Public Service Awards for "City Government at its Best"

"People are riled up over government waste and featherbedding. But taxpayers are getting more than their money’s worth from many municipal employees." So begins the October 18, 2010 editorial in the Boston Globe recognizing several Boston city employees who will receive Shattuck Public Service Awards this week. 

Many readers might be surprised to learn how municipal workers across the city's government are working to increase efficiency or bring new technology, methods or inspiration to old problems. "These awards aren’t handed out like candy," said the Globe editorial board. "The Boston Municipal Research Bureau is quick to confront City Hall at the first sign of wasteful spending or payroll bloat. Coming from the hard-to-please bureau, these awards are high praise indeed."

Check out the editorial and get inspired.

Two New Studies Prove Public Employees Earn LESS Than Private Counterparts

Just because "everyone knows" something doesn't make that something true. For example, consider the popular wisdom that public employees are overpaid. Surprise--two new studies from different, respected think tanks prove that state and municipal employees earn less than their counterparts in the private sector, even when benefits are factored in.

MBTA Worker Saves Man From Burning Car

Most of us don't expect anything more dramatic than traffic on our way to work, but a 63-year-old Green Line inspector for the MBTA spent part of his recent morning commute saving a man from a burning taxicab. 

Globe Columnist: Vote No on Question 3

Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham used her September 9, 2010 column to urge voters to vote no on Question 3, the ballot initiative that would roll back the state sales tax to 3 percent. With the Commonwealth facing a $2 billion shortfall this year and a projected $2.5 billion loss if the ballot question were to pass, Abraham said the results would be more than the people of the Commonwealth could bear.

At last, someone walks the walk with probation officers

A letter to the editor that discusses what probabtion officers go through on a daily basis.

Don't mess with benefits

A letter to the editor that appeared in the Boston Globe defending public employees negotiated healthcare plans.

Daily Kos: "A Public Response to Public Sector Woes"

Public sector workers are under assault from all quarters: state and local budgets strained to the breaking points, citizens frightened by their own economic instability, and a class of professional commentators who make millions of dollars blaming it all on us. Can we really remind people in Massachusetts (and across the country) that a strong public sector providing a wide range of positive public services is part of a strong, health America? A former AFL-CIO president and author says  we can--that we can relieve strained state and local government budgets and save vital public services by making government accountable to real community needs and rethinking government subsidies given to the private sector. 

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