The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that yesterday, a small group of “Occupy Minnesota” demonstrators were augmented by representatives of local unions:
Union leaders headlined a day of OccupyMN street theater Saturday, capped when about 300 protesters marched peacefully across downtown Minneapolis, denouncing the region’s three biggest banks.
“Banks got bailed out — we got sold out!” was one of several chants delivered during the march.
So, what unions were represented?
“We’ll be in the streets until the one percent give up some of their wealth to the 99 percent,” said Elliot Seide, who heads the union representing 40,000 state, county and municipal workers. …
“We need to stand up and yell and be the 99 percent,” said Michelle Sommers, president of the union that represents Metro Transit bus drivers.
That’s right: the unions that supported the occupiers overwhelmingly represent public employees. Public employees are paid more than their private sector counterparts, with better benefits, shorter hours and more job security. They represent a privileged caste, and are fighting hard to retain their privileged status. For public employees to pretend to be somehow downtrodden is ridiculous.
Moreover, if any segment of our society has been bailed out in recent years, it is public employees. Most of Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” bill went to pay the salaries of state and local government workers; the same will be true of “son of stimulus,” in the unlikely event that it passes. As for the local banks that the marchers ostensibly were protesting, they got much smaller bailout amounts, which were forced on them by the federal government–the feds made banks take TARP money whether they wanted it or not, so that the public would not know which banks were actually in trouble–and all three paid the money back long ago. So the occupiers who ally themselves with public employee unions are dupes at best.
This, though, is the most interesting thing about the Strib article: its ending has changed. When I read it online last night, it ended with an anecdote about a metro transit bus that was blocked by the marchers. That concluding paragraph has now been deleted from the article, but its substance can be recreated with a Google search:
… Nicollet Mall, they blocked a northbound Metro Transit bus, but the driver was unperturbed. “I don’t care,” he said. “I’m on the clock either way.”
Heh. The irony is palpable. That driver’s union leaders were participating in the demonstration that blocked his bus, but he didn’t care. No skin off his nose: he is on the clock either way! That pretty well sums up the overpaid, lethargic public sector. The reporter who wrote the story couldn’t possibly have missed the point. So the question is, why did the paper’s editors delete that concluding anecdote after a few hours? We report, you decide: