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LETTER: Responding to Brian Jones' column on public-sector unions

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

This letter is in response to Brian Jones’ May 20 column in The Telegram "Pandemic is an extended holiday for public-sector workers."

We all see what you just did there Brian.

But as much as you posit it as truth, the battleground is not, in fact, one of public-sector workers against the rest of us.

Very Trumpian of you though.

The idea was floated early on in March that public- and private-sector workers should be paid through the pandemic, even those who are sent home and cannot work from home. So why single out public-sector workers because the private sector is unable, in some cases, and unwilling in others, to do so?

That defies logic. It’s like saying let’s pay people through this pandemic, but instead of saying “yay, good on ya for honouring your commitment to your employees,” to those employers who said yes, you want to say “nah, shag the whole lot of ye” because some employers said no.

I’m assuming you’re aware that public-sector workers also pay taxes that help fund “Liberal largesse” or whatever other pet name you want to attach to the structural framework of our country and our economy.

You present the “race to the bottom” as an abhorrent concept through one side of your mouth while condoning it through the other side in your assertion that public-sector workers should also be thrown into the fray with the private sector.

Kinda like lobsters in a bucket, hey?

I challenge the implication that government’s fair treatment of its employees during a global pandemic somehow translates to wrongdoing on their part in that respect. And it is nothing short of disingenuous to push the envelope all the way over the edge by further suggesting that this situation somehow naturally juxtaposes the public and private sectors.

It does not.

Oh, sure, your opinion piece will no doubt accomplish its intended purpose and there will be hearty nods of agreement and rumbles of discontent. I’ll even commend you on managing to manipulate the situation such that you’ve placed government, union, and labour federations together on the same, wrong side of the fence.

But unions and federations of labour are not swayed by such small p politics and will continue to advocate, not only for their own members, but on behalf of all workers, as part of the work that you are undoubtedly aware, as a fellow unionist, that they do.

Violet Browne
(a private-sector union worker who has been on both sides of your imaginary divide and is now happy to support government programs that I once benefitted from)
Mount Pearl

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