Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fuck Ted Kulongoski

The time has come to damn Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. He is an enemy of labor.

When we public employees first elected him, we were rewarded with a two-year wage freeze. Oregon had a budget crisis and Ted needed to show Bill and Sally middle class that he would stand up to those big bad labor public employee unions. And for the mot part we took it. Like idiots, we surrendered our hard-won collective bargaining rights because one prick in Salem issued a non-binding Executive order.

Here we are six years later and Oregon faces a budget crisis (surprise!) and short dick over here decides that we must all sacrifice in the interests of saving the state economy. He, personally, is going to take a five percent pay cut. He's going to sacrifice $4680 of his $93,600 salary. Ah, that's might generous of him. Of course, he's 69 years old, has worked as an attorney and politician most his life, one assumes he has at least one house paid for, and has no kids in school. How the hell is this man going to get by on just $88,920 this year?

Unfortunately, Ted's noble sacrifice is not going to be enough to save the state this year. Nope, that can only be done is you and me take a 5% pay cut in the form of unpaid furlough days. Twenty-six of them over the next two years. Apparently, Ted thinks it is the least we can do. I know, I know, I am a greedy asshole who doesn't want to do his share. Unfortunately, my creditors are greedy assholes as well and they'd like me to continue paying off my car (only 12 payments to go! And then I have no warranty!) The bank likes it when I make my house payment regular like. I have no kids in school, but I got vet bills out the ass. Sorry, boys, Ted thinks we need to sacrifice so once a month, so we'll eat air on those days; even those with claws, must take a pause.

Of course, I also have a rotten tree in my front yard that needs to be taken down. That only costs $1000 or so, which I will either come up with or my insurance company can pay for it. I'm sure Ted is faced with these same thoughts every day. I am sure that he is forced to make financial decisions where he actually hopes a tree comes crashing through is roof because his deductible is lower than the cost of prevention. Wait, of course he doesn't. He's fucking Governor and he can shove is $4680 sacrifice. He wants to sacrifice, why doesn't he try living on the average wage of a public employee in this state.

And while I am here, might I say "screw you" to the fine folks at SEIU who opened negotiations this year with an offer to take eight furlough days and a zero percent COLA increase. What it got them was a counter that asked for twenty-six furlough days, a zero percent COLA and zero percent step increases for the next two years. When is labor going to realize that it is our job to ask for what the workers need, and management's job to offer to figure out what they can afford and give as little of it as possible. When we go into negotiations worried about management's budget, we're doing their job for them. No one cuts you any slack for this, it only shows you're weak and they go for the twenty-six day kill. Oh, I know it fits right in with the standard union victimology stance, the bully boss, the downtrodden worker schtick, but for fuck sake it's not getting us anywhere. How about we point out that the states economy will recover when people on the streets have some green to spend and the way to make that happen is to not cut the wages of 23,000 workers in this state.

But in the end, let's remember who is driving this. Oregon Governor, Democrat, and Enemy of Labor, Ted Kulongoski.

12 comments:

wobblie said...

Well ranted, friend.

Clark said...

don't you think that when the economy is crashing, and private companies are going out of business left and right, and layoffs are rampant, that public employees should also feel the hit?

solidcitizen said...

Public employees are feeling the hit every day, Clark. In fact, we volunteered to take a wage freeze and eight unpaid days off. We face losing our homes and cars just like everyone else. We face medical bills we can't pay. We have partners and spouses who are laid off. We have brothers and sisters asking us for loans.

Unlike private companies, however, the demand for public services is going up. Public employees every day are being asked to do more work. Handle more cases, process more paperwork, teach more students, etc. In the private sector, when demand goes up, so do employment and wages. That is not the case in the public sector. Demand is going up, but we have hiring and wage freezes.

Again, public employees understand that everyone is hurting because we are too. That's why we walked into bargaining and proposed wage freezes and some unpaid days. Asking working people to take the equivalent of a 5% pay cuts when the workload is increasing is, however, in my mind, beyond the pale. Kulongoski comes in for particular scorn because as a guy who considers himself labor friendly, he should be coming up with many, many other options (taxes) before he proposes cutting wages for working families.

lex dexter said...

how much of the blame goes to Tim Nesbitt, I ask you?

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solidcitizen said...

Lex:

To quote Old Ben Kenobi, "There's a name I have not heard in a long time. A long time."

gabbagabbahey said...

I like the acronym COLA - it's ironic.

or do Americans really spend all their money on fizzy drinks?

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