Excellent summary above and some very on target remarks. If I may add the government worker in most states and circumstances is the very easy answer to saving budget dollars on the surface. There should be some serious discussion about the impacts that such measures as furloughs, salary freezes and the like do to productivity. Employees who provided excellent service to the American public daily are now taking time to discuss and ponder their fates when it comes to household expenses and family budgets. The narrow focus of just freezing pay and potential furloughs are not being considered for the true final costs.
A discussion must occur among all Americans about the value of our expectations. For the services each of us receive which ones that benefit you are you willing not to have tomorrow. This argument is bigger than the members of the union who are seeking fairness and transparency for their constituents. It is larger than condemning all government workers with the terminology of poor performance or wasteful spending. The reality is what is our personal expectation concerning what we want local, state and federal governments to do for us. I do not think the discussions ever get to that point. They always tend to gravitate to blame fixing and finger-pointing.
It goes beyond just the unions it actually comes down to what are our expectations and what are we willing to pay for them.