Public workers fighting to preserve their jobs, salaries, and benefits are running out of allies, the Washington Post finds. Democratic lawmakers searching for budget cuts have joined Republicans in targeting public sector perks. Several states are following Wisconsin's lead in attempting to curb collective bargaining for public workers and voters in two California cities voted in favor of pension cuts earlier this week. Analysts say that public employee unions have lost the PR battle and are increasingly being seen as selfish and unwilling to make the same sacrifices as those in the private sector.
Union officials, however, say their members face job cuts and salary freezes and are being made scapegoats by political opponents—who often vastly outspend them, as in Wisconsin's recall election. One 20-year employee of the city of San Jose says she tried to share her experience with other voters, but "the response I got the most was 'I don't get a pension. Why should you?' I tried to explain to them that [the pension] is part of our total compensation, that we don’t get stock options and bonuses. We’re just different. That is not something they’re interested in hearing anymore."