Miffed by cartoon

January 29, 2013

To say that I was a bit miffed by the cartoon on the editorial page of Thursday’s edition of the Observer-Reporter would be a gross understatement.

Let me set the record straight: Public sector unions aren’t the “bullies” that the cartoon would have readers believe. As a retired commonwealth employee, I can remember when all the mills and mines were going strong and public sector work wasn’t considered by most of the working public.

But when the steel industry collapsed, the mines began to close, many of those working in the mills and mines came to work for the commonwealth, because they knew, even though they wouldn’t get much in wages, if they hung in there long enough they could retire with a decent pension – a pension, I might add, that they continued to pay into even when the commonwealth didn’t.

Now, all we see is the governor, the school districts, the municipalities painting this often distorted portrait of greedy employees and teachers sitting back collecting exorbitant pensions. Well, let me tell you, if anyone out there thinks that $19,000 a year is an outrageous sum to get in pension benefits each year, shame on you!

Last, but certainly not least: The pension plans don’t only cover union members. They cover all state, municipal and school district employees. So, please, quit making us out to be the bad guys in this discussion. We worked hard all of our lives, just like those in the private sector. We aren’t freeloaders bellying up to the “benefit buffet”.

Please remember, the governor, his cabinet, the legislators, the senators and the judicial branch are in the same pension plan. So let’s make sure before you pass judgment on public sector employees and retirees, that any and all pension reform issues address all of those folks, not like the last time, when in fact it excluded members of the judiciary.

Barry Andrews


Miffed by cartoon


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