America owes much to those who have labored to build their lives and as they did so, built the country. Work is a gift from God that gives a person dignity, and ensures a means of providing for themselves, their family and to secure their happiness. The need for labor results from the investment of capital in the quest for profit by others who also seek to provide for themselves, their family and to secure their happiness. When workers organize
together to secure a safer work environment and fair wages agreed to by contract, they ensure a faire trade of their labor in exchange for currency they may use in our free economy. However,
when labor organizes to demand unfair wages, benefits and privileges, they set themselves above all others in the community as a special class that can impeded the ability of the vast majority of people to succeed based on their abilities and vocation. This is the case in St. Petersburg as organized government labor has set itself up in a special class that demands more than they deserve from the citizens they serve – their true employers. They are also seeking to cloak it in a feel good “spend local” effort to cover this scheme as good for St. Petersburg. (Continued below…)
Last week, the Florida Public Services Union (representing government workers), revealed that it wanted $1 million from the city in the form of $500 bonuses for 2000 city workers
at the end of the year. The union workers have not had raises in 4 years, which is truly concerning. However, there are many in St. Petersburg who do not even have jobs and those who work from the city make far more on average than average citizens of St. Petersburg and also have far higher health benefits. City workers make an average of about $75,000 in wages and benefits compared to an average of about $26,000 for ST. Petersburg residents (without benefits). The health benefits for government workers are out of control and retired workers can actually make more than active workers now!
The unions may cry poverty, but the fact is that high government worker wages and benefits are the main reason the mythical budget “shortfall” exists. The city is already facing a perceived need to raise an additional $5.5 million or so, and still the Unions want $1 million more. They may claim that the money will be spent “locally” and then offer the ludicrous Keynsian bromide that the money will “stimulate the economy” when it is spent locally through some unenforceable scheme. There is only one major problem with that argument – the unions would REMOVE $1 million from the economy before they would spend it in the economy! Perhaps they feel they know better how to spend money than the taxpayers they serve? Perhaps they don’t realize simple math – if you take $1 million out of the St. Petersburg economy, and then spend it again in the St. Petersburg economy, that is not new spending. This is typical flawed and immoral philosophy from those who beleive prosperity comes from redistribtion and not work.
The Mayor and City Council will offer some hemming and hawing and may even cave to the Union pressure. After all, elections are coming up next year and a favorite tactic among the Union-Politician alliance is to trade union benefits for votes. That is how we and most cities in America have wandered onto our fiscal thin-ice. The Unions promise to deliver votes from themselves and their families, and the politicians promise to give them cash benefits, patronage jobs, and special treatment. Of course, the politicians who make the promises are never around when the time comes to pay the bill, which always falls on the backs of the taxpayer or the citizen who must lose a library or pay a new fee or fine rather than cut the precious Union benefits.
So the question for St. Petersburg this labor day is this: Will the Unions get their ways again at your expense or will the citizens of St. Petersburg show up and say “no more, the jig is up”! There is a way to make this happen, large numbers of citizens must make their voices heard to the government. Taxpayers and citizens outnumber the members of the political class. Citizens need to show up and let the local politicians know: it’s them or us. Cut spending now or lose your jobs next time around. September 13th is the first opportunity to be heard at 6 pm at St. Petersburg City Hall.. There will be another shot on September 27th.