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public sector job losses
(Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert/The Nation)

It's about the furthest thing from a secret that in 2011 newly elected Republican governors and state legislatures made a war on public workers a centerpiece of their radical agendas. But two important recent pieces draw back and assess the damage. In The Nation, Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert look at the massive public sector job losses newly Republican states have seen (and how the war on women and war on voters was being waged in those same states). Republican anti-worker warriors try, of course, to frame these job losses as helping taxpayers by reining in government costs, but as public workers are themselves taxpayers and consumers, higher unemployment among them hits the whole economy and leaves government short-staffed, with fewer workers trying to do the same amount of work—or more, as they struggle to cope with the problems their Republican governors and legislatures are causing. In Pennsylvania in 2011,

The number of government employees fell over 3 percent that year, one of the sharpest declines in any state. Before the cuts, “Pennsylvania [had] the second lowest number of state workers per capita, already,” said Rebecca McNichol, Pennsylvania state director of the CLEAR Coalition. Yet, she says, “this past year the budget was devastating” in deeper cuts.
But Pennsylvania lowered corporate taxes at the same time as it was cutting public jobs.

The attacks on public workers don't just cut jobs and services, though. They affect the working conditions public workers face. Alternet's Sarah Jaffe details the repressive conditions workers face in Wisconsin under Gov. Scott Walker's infamous Act 10 (portions of which have been struck down by a federal judge, but not those relating to collective bargaining):

Beil told a story of guards at a women's correctional facility, who get sent along with inmates when they have to go to the hospital to hold a “vigil.” If one of the guards has to use the bathroom while waiting, they are now required to call the prison, get a replacement sent out, and not use the bathroom until they have returned to their post at the prison. “Workers are every day subject to this kind of abuse and degradation. There's absolutely no dignity in the workplace anymore,” he said.
Private sector workers have already been facing much of the wretchedness being inflicted on public workers—and that's the point. What we're witnessing is a new front in the relentless war from above, a push to ensure that everyone in the 99 percent know their place, know that even their bathroom breaks are contingent on the goodwill of their bosses.

(Go below the fold for more.)

  • Companies with histories of major health and safety violations really shouldn't be getting government contracts. But it happens.
  • One of the Massey Energy officials facing criminal charges related to the 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate federal mine safety laws and faces up to five years in prison.
  • Good news in one lockout:
    A federal judge yesterday issued a temporary injunction ordering the owners of the Flatbush Gardens apartment complex in Brooklyn to end a months-long lockout of more than 70 unionized porters and maintenance workers and resume bargaining “immediately” with the union while the case moves through the NLRB process.
    The locked-out workers faced eviction and loss of health insurance, and the NLRB alleged that the employer was not bargaining in good faith.
  • The Senate didn't have the votes to move forward on a measure that would basically kill the postal service in the name of saving it, cutting services and jobs rather than strengthening it to thrive in the current day. But, of course, the other leading proposal would be worse.
  • Detroit unions are fighting major concessions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 05:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Public Sector Working Republicans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox, Amber6541

    With all the public sector layoffs in Republican States by Republican governors, I wonder:

    1. How will these laid off workers vote in November?
    2. If any of the public workers who have been laid off by Republican State Governors are "Republicans", are they happy now that Republicans are the cause of their problems ?  How will they vote in November? More of the same?

  •  I don't believe there is a 'War on Workers' but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, ladybug53

    that there is a 'War on Everything Good and Right' and that what is commonly called the 'War on Workers' is a major, but far from the only, front in that War.

    •  Just like I don't believe there is a War on Women (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So when I see these back-to-back 'This week in the war on {us}' diaries, I can only feel as though we are again falling into their trap of dividing us.

      War on women here, war on workers there, war on minorities here, war on immigrants here, war on queers there, war on the poor here, war on the earth there.

      It's all the same war;

      I know that you all know that.    

  •  guess what, (4+ / 0-)

    School teachers already face that "degradation". We can not use the bathroom at our convenience. We either have to wait, or get a teacher to watch our class before we can go. But no one seems to give that a second thought. Not that I don't agree with your point.

    Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools, because they have to say something. - Plato

    by eashep on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:17:30 PM PDT

    •  This is sooo true. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox, Amber6541, ladybug53

      I sometimes sub, if I find myself near a bathroom I use it, you never know when you'll get another chance. My teacher friend's GYN told her teachers are notorious for getting UTI's. I'm guessing that it is worse for elementary, middle and high schoolers at least change classes.

      Oh for crying out loud!

      by 4mygirls on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:33:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think that is so crazy (0+ / 0-)

      I am a library aide (and my husband teaches grade school) and I always think this is so crazy. I encourage the teachers at my school stop me and have me watch their class if they need a break. The whole thing about teachers being chained to their classes for most of the day doesn't make any sense for the teachers or the kids. Sometimes you need a breather.

  •  I find it bizarre (4+ / 0-)

    that the Right doesn't seem to ever want to notice that there are practical reasons why they don't drive their expensive sports cars like they treat the middle class and the poor. Societies can seize up like a car engine when they are systemically and serially abused. You can only whip a mule so much before it stops working harder to avoid the pain and just keels over and dies from the abuse.

    Worse, for the Right, at some point there is a systemic collapse, and it is during times of systemic collapses that the nation turns to solutions that might not otherwise be politically possible to undertake thanks to the mindfuck that the Right has put on the American public and the willingness of the media and non-Movement Conservative pols to buy into the Right's memes and frames about how everything works and what is, and is not, politically possible.

    If you look at what has resulted from Movement Conservative thinktank-crafted, Movement Conservative pundit lauded, and Movement Conservative pol passed Right to Work law, it has been a massive failure in terms of what it was advocated on.

    Right to Work was supposed to be a game changer.

    You couldn't compete, you could only sit back and watch in horror as your companies and your most productive members of your state's population just up and streamed into Right to Work states.

    The following states are right-to-work states:

        Alabama  Arizona  Arkansas  Florida  Georgia  Idaho  Indiana  Iowa  Kansas  Louisiana  Mississippi  Nebraska  Nevada  North Carolina  North Dakota  Oklahoma  South Carolina  South Dakota  Tennessee  Texas  Utah  Virginia  Wyoming

    Shouldn't Massachusetts, or New York, or California be these dying or dead dry economic wastelands just begging these Right-to-Work superpowers for mercy by now? It's been a while. Shouldn't these states be carrying the nation on their shoulders already. I see a bunch of states where it really sucks to be poor, or to get sick without insurance, but I don't see our economic overlords.

    States with the most draconian Right to Work policies are not dominating non-Right to Work states in economic performance, job creation, or industry capture.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:34:35 PM PDT

    •  Their Well-Being Does Not DEPEND on the 99%. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Taylor, atana, Jim R

      They don't care because they don't have to any more.

      That's the whole point of globalization, to end the fundamental premise of the Enlightenment and our Constitutional system, that all of society shared many or even most of the same interests.

      Ownership now does not have an interest in the general welfare.

      Which is why their conquest and the rule they've been promising for 40 years to impose is not self limiting at all.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:39:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Modern era (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Taylor, Judge Moonbox

        was a result of the rise of the middle class. The middle class is now being eaten by the 0.01% (exactly as Marx predicted).
        When you have all the wealth and power concentrated in a tiny minority ruling over everyone else, you have feudalism -- slaves and nobles.

        Does anyone seriously believe that a stable global infrastructure to support 9 billion or more people can run on a dark age political system?

        Of course not, and the Owners know it can't. They know there will be a deep dieback of the human race. They are planning on it. They just mean to survive it and come out on top.

        They don't mean for you to survive it.

  •  Where does Illinois come in? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arealniceguy, Amber6541

    I seem to remember that, right after raising our state taxes 50%, 30,000 state workers got pink slips.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:30:29 PM PDT

  •  I assume the Re-pub-lick-an all ready for fraud (0+ / 0-)

    issues due to lack of people to make sure no one is cheating.

    They don't need to make sure companies are not cheating since the companies wrote the laws for them to enact and if they got caught cheating the congressman might lose their major source of income. That should save a lot of work right there. Of course there must be a slush fund to pay off reporters. Sure most reporters wil report the truth but if just a few report what they are told to report and not the facts that will muddy the waters enough to obfiscate the issues.

    They of course will have to hire a spin doctor if anyone does cheat so it gets blamed on everyone but the Re-pub-lick-ans. But don't they already have the market cornered on spin doctors.

    Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:10:27 PM PDT

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