A recent MSNBC report questions the growing attacks on public employee unions and exposes some common myths about them.
MSNBC's conclusion? Public workers are being scapegoated for the recession caused by Wall Street.
The most recent shining example of this is in New York, where the press is pointing the finger at sanitation workers for last week's snow-removal mess, even accusing union workers of being responsible for the death of a child whose ambulance ride to the hospital was delayed because of road conditions.
The root cause was Mayor Mike Bloomberg's chronic understaffing of the Sanitation Department--in the last two years alone, NYC has laid off 500 sanitation workers. Did we mention that the mayor's office outright refused requests by the fire department, urged by emergency service workers, to call a snow emergency?
GRITtv's Laura Flanders elaborates:
Propaganda machines begins with a simple narrative, repeat it endlessly, and then tie current events to the narrative to drive the point home. The blizzard narrative became that it's not tax cuts or layoffs that trigger state shortages and service crashes. It's the workers.
Public services fouled up? It must be public service workers' foul play.
In the new year, it's likely we're only going to see more members of Congress and other politicos are making targets out of their own states' employees to deflect attention away from the fact that their tax bases have been hollowed out by Wall-Street-driven layoffs and the crash of the housing market.
Fight Off the Pitchforks and Torches
In light of the current wave of attacks on unionized public workers, here are some resources and articles you might find helpful to refer to when talking to your co-workers, friends and family about the issue.
- From Gawker's Hamilton Nolan: The Plan to Blame Unions For Everything
- Center for American Progress' Dave Johnson: Ten Holiday Attacks On Public Employees
- Crooks&Liars' Susie Madrak and Jon Perr: Take A Good Look At Post-Blizzard New York City. This Is What Our 'New Austerity' Will Look Like, and 590,000 Republican Lies About Public Employees.
- DailyKos' Joan McCarter: House GOP intend to destroy public employee unions.
- Calitics' Robert Cruickshank: House Republicans Plan to Force California Into Bankruptcy to Bust Unions.
- FireDogLake's David Dayen: In Unfolding War on Public Employees, State Lawmakers and Media Likely to Do the Work Themselves.
- Fortune's Katie Benner: The public pension bomb - A review of how states like New Jersey have knowingly and deliberately underfunded pensions for years, in favor of giving tax cuts to the wealthy.
- Brave New Films' video calling out right-wing misinformation on workers' wages, pensions, state budget deficits and tax cuts for the rich.
- AFSCME's new "Stop the Lies" campaign to call out talking heads on like Rush Limbaugh on their mistruths about public sector workers.
[Note: Expect more resources from us on this issue in the near future]