Wednesday, July 13, 2011

State Workers' Rights Slip Slidin' Away

The Argus Leader reports that state employees are losing the right to appeal layoffs.  Those who support the change apparently agree with the following sentiments.
Employees in the private sector don't get to appeal layoffs, and at least state employees get a justification, said state Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, who voted in favor of the rule changes.
"I think that is more than what you see in the private sector," she said
Senator Hunhoff's justification for her vote shows the weakness of justifications: they don't have to be based on sound reasons.  Just because a protection or a rule doesn't exist in one situation doesn't mean it should be eliminated everywhere.  In short, a justification takes only twenty seconds to manufacture and about three minutes to write out and check for grammar.

Hunhoff's larger point that private sector employees don't get an appeal isn't much of an argument.  It doesn't explain why appeals are bad.  In fact, one could argue that public employees getting to appeal being laid off justifies private sector employees getting a similar appeal.

Further, conservatives frequently extol the virtue and purity of the market and the profit motive.  If they're being honest, then a private sector employer will protect an employee who is quirky or a gadfly as long as the employee helps the employer make a profit.  Public sector employees serve at the whim of political appointees.  I will grant that there are civil service protections, but decicions such as this one are slowly chipping away at those protections.  The gadflies and whistleblowers have one more reason to be a paranoid and look over their shoulders to see who's watching..

Finally, the Argus article points out that the appeals process was used only twice over the past 15 years, so it wasn't a burden to anyone  This decision seems to be an effort to follow the precedent to strip workers of their rights that leaders in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Florida have undertaken.  Was there a mass email?

1 comment:

BW Schwartz said...

Was there a mass email?

I am guessing yes and that it came from the desk of the Koch brothers via Karl Rove's US Chamber of Commerce as they normally are the ones buying the GOP agenda at present.

After all, unions are almost as bad as reasonable regulations when the goal is making FU money on the backs of employees and getting rid of public sector unions is as good of a place to start as any.