As a long-term state of Alaska employee, I've heard that the average person feels that we who work for the state are rich, well-off and have no worries. I'd like to let them know that the average clerical worker has gone backward in salary compared to inflation for quite a few years.
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When the former governor gave his commissioners a raise of more than 30 percent, he did not include the rest of the state's employees and certainly did not include the clerical or support staff.
We are asked to believe that the cost of living in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks is only going up by 1 percent, yet as many know, the cost of fuel alone over the past few years has gone up by more than 20 percent. And in Fairbanks, our own electric company has added a fuel charge and was approved for a 4 percent increase. At the grocery store you can see the difference: A gallon of milk in Fairbanks was $2.99 a gallon; today you're lucky if you can find it at $3.59.
Seems to me that our own representatives are living in another area of the country. Perhaps they are thinking of California or somewhere down south; I know they are not thinking about where they live. Our own union signs up for this political nonsense and rides the fence both ways.
Someday, I wish that there can be fair representation across the board, so that the great people of Alaska would realize that the average state clerical worker is not making what the commissioners or directors do. Then, just maybe these workers might get a fair contract. Since our union and state of Alaska officials do not think so, I guess it will be another three years of losing more purchasing power, and looking for other ways to make ends meet.