Editorial on public works was off-base

April 22, 1996

THE WRITER of the April 4 editorial, "Dark days for public employees," has to be from another planet. His portrayal of the economic status of public employees is far out, to say the least.

Take this statement: "Once, private sector working class citizens felt a certain kinship . . . with public employee unions . . . If public unions scored a victory" -- a pay raise -- "they considered it a victory for working people everywhere." Hogwash! For many years public employees were generally looked upon as drones serving at the pleasure of political bosses.

When I became a public employee in the late 1930s, I and my colleagues were somewhat reluctant to admit where we worked, such was the low esteem in which we were held.

If we received a pay raise we were the only ones who cheered -- but only within the confines of the agency walls.

The editorial goes on to conclude: "This year public employees ++ are less likely to hear people say they deserve a raise and more likely to hear 'They should feel lucky to have a job.' "

Deserve a raise? In my 37 years as a public employee, during which public employees came to be regarded with a welcome measure of respect, I don't recall ever hearing that phrase.

Certainly it never appeared, to my recollection, in the editorial pages of The Sun.

Abner Kaplan

Baltimore

Pub Date 4/22/96

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