Feb 12, 2009

Why do Senate Republicans hate state workers?

It was poetic justice when Senate Republicans’ disgusting anti-state worker resolution was roundly defeated Thursday.

Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo, introduced Senate Resolution 13 that urges “the Governor to work with the Civil Service Commission to require that state employees either work on President's Day or take the day off as an unpaid holiday.” He then went on some rant that state workers in Indiana work on Presidents Day.

Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, pointed out that Michigan government workers are the only state employees not to get a pay raise last year, and they have made concessions twice to help balance the budget and they are paying more for their health care.

“I believe that the workers of the state of Michigan are an extremely hardworking group of people in the face of years now of downsizing state government, “she said. “The state employees who are left are doubling and tripling their personal efforts to get the job done on behalf of the citizens of the state of Michigan. To balance this budget over and over again on the backs of our hardworking state employees is unfair and quite demoralizing to these workers.”

Michigan has less state employees now than we had in 1973. This smear against state employees comes on the day the Governor introduced her fiscal year 2010 budget that has to make up a $1.5 billon shortfall. That budget includes $28 million in concessions from state employees, and the layoff of 1,500 state employees.

But Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, who represents the district where most of the state workers live, was incensed at the attack on state employees.

“Every year we ask for concessions from our state workers; they are overworked, they are under appreciated,” she said. “I ask the gentleman from Kalamazoo; what concessions have you made in the last eight years?”

Generally, resolutions are approved by a voice vote, but Democrats requested the yeas and nays and voted for a role call vote. Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, tried to avoid a role call vote by trying to pass it for the day, but once a role call vote is called for, it can’t be passed for the day. The resolution was soundly defeated 30-5.

The anti-worker five voting against state workers were Mike Bishop, R-Rochester; George; Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township; Tony Stamas, R-Midland; and Nancy Cassis, R-Novi.

It’s so ironic that Republicans will do any thing to get elected, but they hate government and government employees. It’s also ironic that George and others made statements celebrating President Lincoln’s birthday, but it’s not important enough to be a national holiday for workers.

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