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Brigit Martinez is correct that private sector workers are at least as hard-up as those in the public sector ("Join the Club," Forum, March 15). In fact, despite comparatively low wages, state workers — who, until recently, have enjoyed secure retirement plans and decent health care benefits — may indeed be a bit better off than the rest of us, who are now expected simply to work until we die.

But if public workers have fared slightly better during the economic crisis it's because they've been more diligent at maintaining their collective-bargaining rights through labor unions. The question isn't why public employees still have decent pensions and benefits — the question is why the rest of us were cowardly enough to give ours up!

Brandon Burt

Salt Lake City