Providing Tools to Stand Up Against Privatization

October 24, 2012 -- Partnership for Working Families

ITPI's Donald Cohen Speaks at Conference

As the ongoing privatization of public sector work continues to influence the lives of more and more Americans, In the Public Interest, a project of the Partnership, continues to provide people with the knowledge to recognize the risks of privatization and the tools to fight against these risks. On October 15, Donald Cohen, chair of the project, spoke at the LIUNA Pacific Southwest Regional Conference in Monterey, CA on these issues.

Conference attendees included many of LIUNA’s public sector members working in cities, school districts, and several federal units, including the Indian Health Service and the National Guard, across the Pacific Southwest. In his presentation Donald provided multiple examples of how the loss of public control by privatizing similar public sector jobs has failed. Among these were the poor maintenance of streets in Fresno, CA that compromised the safety of city residents and the decreased quality of care in North Carolina’s privatized mental health system. He also detailed how the potential privatization of these kinds of positions eliminates good, middle-class jobs and takes the power to make decisions about how these services are run from the public and places it in the hands of private companies.

The public and workers alike are confronted with an uphill battle against the multitude of risks presented by privatization, but In the Public Interest seeks to make this fight easier for all involved. At the conference, Donald explained strategy about how to stand up against privatization – messages that work, early identification, the importance of allies, and the right questions to encourage any government to consider before entering into a contract. Donald’s presentation is illustrative of the ongoing work by all those concerned with protecting the public interest and maintaining the public’s control over essential services in our communities.