End of the Middle Class? Public Workers Protest Privatization

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State Employees Seek Fairness & Relief
by Mike Vasilinda

Tallahassee, FL -- February 21, 2012 --

Hundreds of unionized state employees from across Florida converged on the state Capitol today protesting what they call attacks on the middle class. State employees got their last raise in September 2006. Their buying power has declined 11 percent since then.

onized employees converged on the Capitol to ask for fairness.
Nationally, states average 217 employees per ten thousand citizens. Florida has 116.
The average cost per citizen for a state worker nationally is 75 dollars. InFlorida, it is 49 percent cheaper. ($38) Richard Flan is a biologist for Fish and Wildlife in St. Pete.

“Compensation for a state employee costs a citizen thirty eight dollars a year, which is the lowest compensation rate in the county” says Flan

Sally Barnes came from Jacksonville. “Six years, we have not had a raise. In two years the private sector would have gone out and found another job. they wouldn’t stay here and fight like we are” says Barnes.

Hector Ramos took out his disappointment with one lawmakers vote last year to require employees to pay three percent of their salary toward their pension. Ramos says his union doesn’t care which party a legislator belongs to. “His record…right now his record is not there. If his record gets there, we’d love to work with him toward his reelection” is what Ramos said to an aide for State Representative John Grant.

The pension contribution is being challenged in court. After months of waiting, these employees will find out on Friday if the state can legally pay three percent into their pension fund.

And no matter what the judge decides, the decision is certain to be appealed.

This year, state lawmakers are looking at raising the cost of state employee health insurance and forcing all new state hires into a 401k instead of a state defined benefit pension plan.


Tallahassee, Florida - Feb. 21, 2012 - Noon -

Public workers in Florida say current legislation threatens their livelihood. Hundreds gathered at the capitol to stand against lawmakers who are in favor of privatization.

Watch our LIVE interview with Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda by clicking on the video player above.

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