New York’s public employee unions are coming under increasing criticism these days for their refusal to make any concessions or sacrifices to get the state out of the fiscal mess their high salaries and perks have helped put it in. On the thinking that the best defense is a good offense, the state AFL-CIO announced Monday that it is targeting two Democratic state senators, Craig Johnson and Jeff Klein, who have shown they can think for themselves and won’t simply do the unions’ bidding.
The union is handing out thousands of flyers full of bombastic, over-the-top rhetoric in the senators’ districts, accusing them of being against labor and working men and women. The language may be cleaner than CSEA President Danny Donahue’s, when he led his members in a chant of “bull----” at a rally attacking Gov. Paterson's furlough plan for state workers, but the tone is the same.
Johnson’s reasonable response, in a public letter, stands in striking contrast to the unreasonableness of the union — which went so far as to criticize the senators for creating the new Tier V pension that the unions themselves agreed to.
While acknowledging the union’s right to oppose him and his positions, Johnson unapologetically repeated his support for, among other things, a property tax cap, which is needed; and for teachers in various Long Island districts who have given up pay raises to save taxpayers’ money and fellow workers’ jobs.
The New York Legislature needs more lawmakers like Johnson and Klein, not fewer.