Public employee unions are one of the Democratic Party's core constituencies. Democrats do favors for unions, and unions support Democrats' campaigns.
The public has been handed the costs of this happy arrangement for decades. But household economies have cratered, and voters are re-evaluating.
Public-sector unions take the position that their total compensation - wages plus benefits - should be superior to that of taxpayers who pay the bills.
Public-sector unions don't seem to see anything unfair about that, but Democrats should figure it out and reposition themselves quickly.