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 A Message to State Workers From MEMBERSVOICES.ORG

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Join date : 2011-01-09

A Message to State Workers From MEMBERSVOICES.ORG Empty
PostSubject: A Message to State Workers From MEMBERSVOICES.ORG   A Message to State Workers From MEMBERSVOICES.ORG I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 11, 2011 2:16 am

We Are Just Like You
Tim Chaney
Proud father, school board member, and state worker.

The young man in line behind you at the bank. The middle-aged woman shopping for produce at the market. The older man with his grandkids at the ballgame. The young mother waiting to pick up her child after school. These are the faces of our community, our state, our nation. They are you and me.

Many of these people are also, shocking as it may sound, public employees. They are the dedicated, skilled men and women who are the heart, soul and muscle of the municipal, county, state and federal governments that provide vital, daily, often-unseen, life-enhancing services that make our lives—our society—not only functional, but possible.

And, yet, these consummate professionals, highly trained, motivated and conscientious, are like anyone else. They have the same pride in their work, and in themselves, as you do. They have the same goals of financial security, better communities, their children’s welfare, and a dignified, healthy retirement. Just like you, they are part of an inseparable and contributing segment of society.

The Golden State

California, by itself, is the world’s eighth-largest economy. Geographically, demographically, socially, and intellectually, this great state is a reflection of the world itself. Nearly forty million people live, work and raise families here. Almost every nationality, ethnicity, cultural, economic and religious segment of humankind is represented here. Every professional endeavor—agriculture to manufacturing, services to technology, creative and innovative achievement—thrives here.

Like any great, expanding and cutting-edge society, California requires professional men and women to keep its “machinery” running. And who exactly are these state employees? Here are but a few: Specialists who ensure that benefits continue to flow to those who has been injured on the job or have lost their jobs, correctional officers and support staff that keep criminals off the streets, transportation planners and workers who keep our roads useable and safe, scientist and staff who keep our water, forest, and other natural resources safe and protected, infrastructure-improvement workers that literally keep our state from falling apart, healthcare providers, public-safety heroes, and the revenue collectors who ensure that funds needed to provide these vital services are available. These are the people who make California go—and grow.

Imagine a cruise ship without a trained, dedicated crew. Imagine a business enterprise without the professional staff it needs for any and all challenges. Imagine the State of California—with its $110 billion annual budget and its obligation to provide health, educational, social, cultural, and infrastructure services—without the experienced, knowledgeable employees it needs, not only to fulfill an expanding spectrum of public needs, but also to make government function at all.

Servants or Scapegoats?

And yet . . . too often, the people we serve see us as obstacles, or as lazy, contented, richly paid, benefits-grabbing wallowers at the public trough! This is laughably far from the truth.

The economic crisis that continues to hold our country, state and communities in its unrelenting grip not only affects private-sector employees. Public employees are being hit with pay cuts, reduction of health and pension benefits, cuts in the workforce, and mandatory, unpaid furlough days. We face the same career uncertainty, economic distress, loss of medical and retirement security as do tens of thousands of small-business and corporate working people throughout California.

Public employees face the same financial challenges as everyone else. We work under the same professional threats (downsizing, furloughs, loss of wages and benefits) hanging over our heads as untold numbers of private-sector working men and women do.

All of us work at the pleasure of others. Most private-sector employees can be fired or demoted or transferred at the whim of their bosses. Public employees serve—and can be professionally ruined—at the whims of managers and the shifting winds of community opinion, a budgeting process over which they have absolutely no control, and deals cut in secret by special-interest lobbyists and contribution-hungry politicians.

Bottom line, we public employees are just like you, no better, no worse, simply doing our very best at home, on the job, and in the community. We face the same economic, professional and personal challenges that you do. Many of us have spent years, even decades, in the private sector. We share your professional pride in a job well done. We have the same hopes for our children, the same goals of dignified, healthy and secure retirements. We work for you, the public, and are very proud to do so. We’re your neighbors, even your family members. We are remarkably like you.
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