Dear Mr. Rice,
I am writing today to urge the Council to respect the bargaining rights of the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO) of Montgomery County, and to entertain the recommendations they have put forward to amend the Administration’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2012.
I believe that maintaining union bargaining rights contributes to maintaining a strong middle class in the United States. This, in turn, is essential to sustaining a viable democracy. We have recently witnessed the fragility of regimes in foreign countries where not enough employment exists and there is not an empowered middle class. This can result in unrest and conflagration.
The difficult economic conditions we have faced over the last several years are responsible for the current budget shortfalls in the County. These conditions were caused in part by financial instruments created outside the government’s financial regulatory system. The weakening of government oversight in other ways also contributed to the financial collapse of the economy.
Government workers have traditionally enjoyed a stable work environment with good benefits. This in turn contributes to stable institutions. If jobs, salaries, and benefits are at risk in Montgomery County, the County itself will become more fragile and less able to respond to the needs of its residents.