Friday, August 6, 2010

Say it with me: Irony.

In the post below I referred to the case where two state employees of Utah have leaked detailed information to the media from state records about people they suspect of being "illegal," including names, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers, and due dates of expectant mothers. It's a horrifying case. The otherwise neocon governor of Utah responded surprisingly quickly with a probe into who accessed and leaked the information, immediately firing one suspect and beginning the firing process for the other who has some protections as a permanent employee of the state. The story is shocking and incredibly scary for the 1300 people on that list. Firing and prosecuting the people who compiled and leaked the list will not reverse the violation that has been done to them or undo the fact that they face increased danger at the hands of local hate groups.

But there was one gem of irony in the Salt Lake Tribune's story about that second employee, Teresa Bassett of the Department of Workforce Services, that I just can't resist sharing:

This week, Bassett sought the assistance of the Utah Public Employees Association, the union representing state workers, although she was not a member of the organization.

“Teresa approached me for some advice and I gave her the advice that she probably ought to seek representation by an attorney,” said Dennis Hammer, deputy director of UPEA.

Bassett also asked to join the union, filling out a membership card that Hammer said he would hold onto until the criminal investigation into her activities is complete.

So, an employee of the department of workforce services betrays the very workers she is supposed to have been helping by releasing their private information and making them targets of hate groups, and then when she faces consequences for doing so she turns to the union she has refused to join during her fifteen years of state employment to help bail her out.

Note to Bassett: Worker solidarity. You're doing it wrong.

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