02/24/2011 03:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Retirees Proud to Stand With Public Workers

In these difficult times, retirees across the country are proud to support public sector workers.

We value the work these men and women do every day. They keep us safe. They teach our grandkids. They care for us when we are sick. They don't make shareholders wealthier; instead, they make our communities stronger.

I know times are tough, and my generation understands sacrifice. We were brought up to lend a hand for the greater good. But we draw the line when sacrifice is borne so unevenly. For all the attention given to public service workers, more should be paid to the tax breaks and sweetheart deals politicians give away and the perks they keep for themselves.

We must draw the line when politicians try to score political points by attacking collective bargaining rights. Ask any union retiree, and they will tell you how a voice on the job allowed them to speak on behalf of the customers they served. We were able to sit down with management to find ways to do our jobs better, and we could blow a whistle against pressure to cut corners on safety and service.

Politicians talk a lot about values, but too often it's just talk. To me, the men and women in public service are the real deal. They display values that deserve our respect, not our scorn. The Alliance for Retired Americans is proud to stand in solidarity with them.

Barbara Easterling was previously the Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America. For more information, visit or call 1-800-333-7212.