We are hearing of all manner of aberrant behavior in Wisconsin in response to the state taking back control of its budget from an angry, unionized public sector workforce. As talk of a general strike persists, public workers need to be reminded of what makes the American labor market so great. Employers are always willing to pay for valuable skills. If Wisconsin’s public employees are unhappy, they should work somewhere else.
Many of us who live in the real world and learned to acclimate to wage and benefit changes during the downturn are perplexed by what is happening in Wisconsin. The notion that jobs should be silver platter affairs with guaranteed pay and cradle to the grave benefits seems strange, given that we have always known there is an option when we are dissatisfied. If our skills are in demand, we can get a better job. The search may be difficult, and it may take time, but good employees with needed talents will always be able to find work.
Unhappy denizens of the public sector should take note of last month’s employment figures. The private sector is hiring. Public sector employment dropped, no surprise given state budget-trimming, so the writing is on the wall. The time has come to tune up those resumes and hit the streets.
Other states will be forced to adopt Governor Walker’s strategy. Instead of demonstrating, refusing to come to work, threatening a shutdown of public services, or engaging in hunger strikes, those unhappy with their treatment should market their valuable skills elsewhere. All signs are that the outlook for private sector jobs will continue to improve. The private sector rewards value, and will welcome dispossessed public workers with open arms, providing they can offer the skills that employers want.
Slavery and indentured servitude are things of the past. Working in America will always be fraught with risk, but everyone has the right to change their situation, and take responsibility for their future. The public sector has failed its employees by adopting the role of overgenerous parent, and when the gifts stop coming, the tantrums will commence. On Fool’s Day, our court system granted temporary legitimacy to the displays of outrage in Wisconsin, but what we are seeing is still just a tantrum from those led to believe that they are special, and therefore entitled. Workers who are so valuable that they feel justified in their demands can find better jobs. Their skills will be rewarded. For the rest, public employment is little more than welfare. If no other employer will hire them, they should be grateful for the handout.