No, state workers should not be paid for the shutdown
We all know what a shutdown means. A shutdown, a furlough, a layoff; call it what you will be it in the public or private sector, it means you don't get paid. If work was slow at your factory and they laid you off for a month, you were more than welcome to seek unemployment for that month. But you are not getting a paycheck.
Same is the case for state workers who lost between 1 to 3 days of work due to the state shutdown. They are able to collect unemployment. Instead, leaders of both houses of our legislature are now trying to get back pay for tens of thousands of state workers who were furloughed. Senate President Stephen Sweeney has announced a special session this Thursday morning to vote on such a bill. Meanwhile Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is calling on the governor to use his executive power to pay state workers after the impasse, according to NJ.com.
Prieto says state workers deserve to be treated with "dignity and respect" and the quickest solution would be Christie taking executive action. Sweeney, going the legislative route, says, "State workers should not be penalized for the government closure that was completely out of their control."
The Tinton Falls Cub Scout pack that was told to pack up and leave Cheesequake State Park should not have been penalized for the government closure either, along with the rest of the public, but guess what Sweeney? They were.
This idea that the governor got to still enjoy Island Beach State Park and that state workers should now get what would amount to a few extra paid vacation days (no one is talking about taking the paid days from their allotted time that I'm aware of) while the public would be left the only people inconvenienced here is ridiculous. Think about it. State workers wouldn't just be breaking even; they'd be ahead of the game having not worked a few days, getting paid for their time off with no services provided, then still keeping all their allotted vacation time to boot.
You want to talk about dignity and respect? Where's the respect for the public in all this?