Bob Roegner, writing in the Federal Way Mirror, hit upon an interesting scenario regarding public unions, political spending, Wisconsin and Washington states budget future.

Of particular note was the last line, “Brutal as it may be, Wisconsin could not only happen here, it may be just around the corner.”

If we do not change the mindset of our public employee unions, that may happen sooner than later.

What the unions want of our elected

Let me add some insight into what the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) ‘endorsement’ interview was like a few weeks ago.

(Ironically, the 30th district candidate interviews were just days after the recall failure of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Originally set for March 30th, the interview was postponed because too many union leaders and members were instead preoccupied preparing for May 1 events in Seattle.)

Naturally, SEIU will not endorse me

 

‘Jerry, will you support efforts to pass laws forcing employers to allow unions to form?’1

‘Jerry, I have not had a raise in three years and, making only $13.50 per hour, I want to make $17 per hour. Will you raise my wages?’2

‘Jerry, public employees in my field make 20% less than private employees. Will you raise our pay to match the private sector?’3

 

These are just some of the questions put to me in the ‘endorsement’ interview.

The room was full of public employee union leaders who politely identified themselves then launched into questions of what will I do to increase their pay/benefits/job security.

But in the reality of flat or diminishing revenue, presenting these union ‘leaders’ with an invitation to collaborate on solutions within the budget, I was sharply rebuked by being told to ‘just answer the questions’.

What right for the state?

How do we get past staunch single minded myopia focus from “What can I get” or “I want a raise” and start looking at what our state Needs? Billion dollar shortfalls will not be resolved with pay raises, enhanced benefit packages or job-killing restrictions on employers.

 

Its the economy

Our return to robust economy depends on identifying underlying problems, finding reasonable solutions and then working together to implement improvement.

Improvements in economic conditions means more jobs and more revenue. Only then can we entertain demands from union ‘leaders’.

1 No, I am opposed to placing restrictions on the free market that stifle business creation and growth.
2 Not at this time. We are in a budget crisis with no expectation of revenue increases and rising cost on existing benefits and services. I asked ‘Which agency or employees do you want me to close or fire so that I can give you a 25% raise?’ (Here was the rebuke “We ask the questions, you are here to answer them!”)
3 I suggest that if there is a more lucrative job in the private sector and your members want those levels of benefits then your members should apply to the private employer so they can have those improved benefits immediately.

 

I am not endorsed by the SEIU but I certainly welcome them to join the discussion of how we can get the state employment rate and economy increased so we can grant the wage increases and benefits desired.

 

Maintaining the me first attitude may very well expedite the Wisconsin solution.

I am a candidate for office and want your vote and support to keep Washington and the 30th district as economically stable and sustainable as possible.

 

Elect Jerry

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