Robert Reich just published the following op-ed on HuffPost. I agree with well over 90% of his comments. Public employees are now on a political hit list — certainly in the State of Florida with the guy now occupying the Governor’s Mansion. As an attorney who represents the labor interests of cops, fire fighters, teachers and other public sector workers, it will require a concerted effort on everyone’s part to beat back the wave of attacks likely to come over the next 2-4 years, if not beyond. Meanwhile, as Reich correctly notes, attention is purposefully being directed away from those with the most wealth and power.
Collective bargaining rights, as well as public sector positions themselves are in deep danger. The guy just appointed to head the Florida Department of Corrections is famous (in a state with 1/3 the population of FL) laying off 1,000 correctional workers. So, is the occupant of the Governor’s Mansion going to sanction the firing of 3,000 FL Correctional workers? The Inaugural Ball from two days ago was co-sponsored by a corporation (Geo) that vies for the privatization of prisons. If you want an example of the quality (or definitive lack thereof) of their work, then one needs go no further than the facility — outside of Arcadia — housing offenders under the Jimmy Ryce Act. The New York Times had a field day approximately 4 years ago with the poor quality of privately run FL prisons.
We need to safeguard our teachers, our cops, our firefighters, and other members of the public workforce. To a great degree, they are what continue to keep FL functioning, and functioning in the Sunshine.