NY unions stand up to political attacks on workers’ pensions

NYHTC — February 15, 2011

State and local politicians in New York seem unwilling to recognize that Wall Street and corporate executives, not government workers, are to blame for the budget deficits the politicians must now confront. This is no surprise; their counterparts in a number of other states are also behaving as if the pension benefits of government workers are solely responsible for their states' budgetary difficulties.

Unions that represent government workers in our state are fighting to protect their members against these unjust attacks on them and on their pension benefits. Articles in both the New York Daily News and the New York Times highlight the efforts being made on behalf of their members by District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, the United Federation of Teachers, CSEA, the largest union of state workers, and New York State United Teachers, among others.

AFSCME's "Stop the Lies" campaign uses videos and the print media to get across a truer picture about government workers, the modest size of their pensions, and the hard work they do to earn them. Meanwhile, other unions are working on their own and in coalitions including other labor, environmental, and community groups. They are using grass-roots activities to generate broad political support for measures that don't seek to remedy the current budgetary deficits by scapegoating and penalizing working people.

Confessore, Nicholas. Public-Worker Unions Skip Albany Ad Blitz for New Tactics. New York Times. February 9, 2011.