Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: state workers


LABOR: Lesson learned from Wisconsin

The election in Wisconsin is over. I hope wounds heal and the state keeps moving in the right direction toward fiscal responsibility and fairness to taxpayers.

I believe we may be too blue a state to end collective bargaining, but other parts of Wisconsin’s union reforms should be considered by the Washington state Legislature and governor.

The fact that state worker dues are mandatory and collected by the state doesn’t pass the smell test. Presently taxpayers pay the administrative cost to collect these dues and send the dollars to the unions. State worker unions in turn donate that money to

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TEACHERS: Give them same medical coverage state workers enjoy

I am married to a Puyallup School District teacher. I agree that teachers should be treated the same as state workers. If my husband’s salary is cut by 1.9 percent or even 3 percent, he would actually see his pay rise if he were put on the same health plan that the state workers enjoy.

Last month, $791.33 was pulled out of my husband’s paycheck for medical insurance to cover our family of four (I am self-employed). My friend’s husband, who is a state employee, pays $160 per month to cover his family of four with a plan that has

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LEGISLATURE: Inconsistency on issues

There are two issues that do not seem to be right to me.

• There are legislative districts that take in more money than they bring in, according to the state Office of Financial Management. Most of these districts are Republican districts.

For example, let’s take state Sen. Joseph Zarelli’s 18th Legislative District. OFM records show that one county in his district takes $1.47 and another takes $1.39 for every $1 they contribute to the state.

This is the same Zarelli who is asking state workers to take a 3 percent pay cut and extra furlough days to balance the

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STATE: Workers didn’t create unfunded liability

The state gave public employees an implied contract: Give us your service, and we will give you a pension.

Every pay period we gave our 6 percent; it was the employer – the state – that did not give its share.

The state investment board earned a good return on funds invested, but without the full 100 percent contributions from the state, they have not had the opportunity to earn the maximum possible.

The “Uniform COLA” is not even a “COLA”; it is based on how many years retirees worked for the state and the amount of their monthly pension,

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BUDGET: Don’t blame rank-and-file workers

Re: “Union demands verge on extortion” (letter, 11-22).

Please do not be so quick to blame unions and public employees for bankrupting the system. Remember that Gov. Chris Gregoire and other leaders ultimately are responsible for our budget mess.

The first place that everybody wants to cut is the pay and benefits of “powerful union employees.” That is what Gregoire is attempting to do now. She and others do not go running to cut the pay or benefits of their buddy across the hall who has a big desk and a $140,000 dollar salary plus benefits.

All systems are overloaded

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BUDGET: State workers out of touch with reality

Re: “Workers’ benefits undermined” (letter, 10-5).

This letter shows how out of touch state workers are with reality. In the private sector, most of us do not have paid sick leave. We do not have health insurance that is paid almost 88 percent by the employer. We would be happy with a pay freeze instead of the pay cuts and reduced hours we have taken.

We are happy to have a job even if we have to work harder due to layoffs in our company. We have had high health insurance deductibles for years, and are glad we still have

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BUDGET: Public sector needs to get a clue

Re: “Workers’ benefits undermined” (letter, 10-5).

The writer describes what public-sector workers have had to go through. Welcome to the real world.

Private workers have undergone everything she complained about public workers going through: indefinite wage freezes (we know several people, including my husband, who haven’t had a raise in three years), workload increased due to less staff, health benefits reduced (our premium has tripled even though benefits are less), retirement benefits in jeopardy (ours are frozen, and we don’t know if they will ever be restarted) and so forth.

Those who work for the public sector shouldn’t expect better

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BUDGET: Public lynching of state employees?

I find myself increasingly disgusted with the now commonplace comparison being made between state workers’ benefits and those of the private sector. This rationale is being used in an attempt to undermine every layer of state employees’ benefits from health insurance premiums to wages and sick-time pay.

The clamoring is to solve the budget crisis by raiding the compensation packages of state employees, claiming “the private sector doesn’t do things that way.” Are these individuals carrying a torch and pitchfork for public service employees? How would they feel if every aspect of their compensation was eroded away despite years of

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