Battling the Lies Against Public Employees

January 18, 2011

AFSCME International Sec.-Treas. Lee Saunders recently took AFSCME’s “Stop the Lies” campaign to a nationwide radio audience.

We are “actively engaged in fighting back, in stopping the misinformation and the lies. We are engaging our members and educating our members, so they are ready for the fight and ready for the struggle,” Saunders told National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm.

Listen to the full broadcast here.

Saunders was also a guest on The Bill Press Show, a progressive radio talk show. AFSCME’s efforts to dispel myths about public service workers are also getting more attention in the print media. In a Jan. 5 story in the Washington, DC, newspaper POLITICO, Saunders says, “The ultraconservatives are trying to make the public sector the enemy because the private sector is being hit so hard.”

Our message is also being spread by an ever-growing list of progressive authors. in a recent column in The Huffington Post, Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, says “public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers.”

Art Levine, a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly, also discusses AFSCME’s “Stop the Lies” campaign in this article published in the magazine, In These Times. “The challenge,” Levine writes, “is convincing the broader progressive movement — and the public — to stand up for public employee unions that have been caricatured and smeared as generally overpaid, inept and lazy.”

Chris Hayes, recent guest host on the Rachel Maddow Show, debunked the claim that public sector workers are causing the budget crisis afflicting states — pointing the finger of truth at the failure of states to raise sufficient revenues to fund their operations.

The growing movement to cripple and destroy public sector unions was recently discussed on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. United Steel Workers Pres. Leo Gerard was a guest on the show, explaining that “public sector workers aren’t the problem. There’s no public sector worker getting rich on their salary...” Filmmaker Robert Greenwald, producer of AFSCME’s “Stop the Lies” series, appeared on the Ed Schultz Show to explain why Wall Street is winning the war against Main Street.

The scapegoating has got to stop. The public, bombarded daily with inaccurate stories about public employee compensation and benefits, needs to understand that these dedicated and hardworking employees are the backbone of their communities, providing the vital services that make our communities run smoothly. Public service workers deserve our support, which is why we’re fighting back!

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