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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

AFSCME Calls on Speaker Boehner to Stop Using Violent Metaphors and Demonizing Public Employees

Washington, D.C. — 

Citing an interview the House Speaker John Boehner gave with the Christian Broadcasting Network, AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee called on the Speaker to stop using violent metaphors and demonizing public employees.  
“John Boehner goes on Christian TV and claims that collective bargaining is ‘a machine gun’ that public employees have put ‘right at the heads’ of public officials,” said McEntee.  “Collective bargaining isn’t a weapon, it’s a process that gives workers a voice in finding solutions to problems that exist. We need to pull together as a country, but this kind of language will only tear us farther apart,” McEntee said.  
“When either side uses violent imagery and metaphors, we ignore the fact that we’re all in this together,” McEntee said.  “Coming only months after a member of the U.S. House was shot in Arizona, I hope the Speaker’s reckless comment was a slip of the tongue and not a talking point. How much better off would we all be if he stayed focused on the urgent task of jobs creation?”
McEntee also urged Boehner to stop distorting the salaries and retiree benefits of public service workers in his public statements.  
“The Speaker says that public employee pay and benefits are out of line with other workers.  That’s not right and he shouldn’t be spreading falsehoods.  The average AFSCME retiree’s pension is $19,000,” McEntee said.  “Spreading false information about pay and benefits is just another way of demonizing the men and women who staff 911 centers, teach our children, care for the infirm and plow our streets.”

The Economic Policy Institute found in a recent study that Wisconsin public service workers with a bachelor’s degree or more – which is required for up to 60 percent of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin – are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor’s degree) to more than $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine).  “Speaker Boehner should stop vilifying public employees,” McEntee said.

Boehner’s interview can be seen at this link:

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