The fight over furloughs has been characterized by the press in a variety of ways. The Governor's "tough times budget" spin-the state is in an economic meltdown, everyone must share the pain, and 14 unpaid days and a wage freeze is better than layoffs. The unions' collective message-a contract is a contract and furloughs (AKA pay cuts) and demands for givebacks of negotiated wages undermine the collective bargaining process and unfairly penalize middle class working families who have already made massive concessions and cannot afford to give more in this troubled economy any more than their neighbors can.
My neighbors? They gave their jobs. In the last three months I've had several friends laid off and unable to find new jobs. These are parents, homeowners, spouses. They have NO JOBS. I must disagree, Ms. Katz; asking state workers to give up 12 paid days of work is a heckuva lot less than these guys have had to give up.
I'd rather take that cut in pay and we all get to keep our jobs.
Ms. Katz makes a great case later in her commentary about class distinction; how the AIG executives got their contractually-guaranteed bonuses but we may not keep our contractually-guaranteed wages. Sure it's a good point, but it's not like Our Fair State's government is the one giving away these AIG bonuses.
I understand contracts and collective bargaining.* I'm not saying furloughs are the best or only answer. I'm just saying that this arguement against the f-word isn't the way to go.
*I've said it before, but just in case, here's my full disclosure: I am both a public employee and a union member.