Letters to the Editor

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UNIONS: Merryman missed the point about volunteers

Letter by Steven A. Krueger, Auburn on July 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm with 4 Comments »
July 29, 2010 9:12 am

Re: “Unions should encourage – not slap down – volunteer help” (Kathleen Merryman column, 7-28).

Merryman has no bigger fan than me, but I think she missed some important points.

As I understand it, the issue that the Teamsters are fighting is the county’s violation of the collective bargaining agreement, which – like most – calls for negotiation on changes to wages and working conditions. Had the employer honestly chosen to negotiate, rather than relapse into a traditional, paternalistic “you’ll do what we damned well tell you” stance, the problems outlined in the column might have been avoided.

Merryman rightly explains the myriad of ways unionized workers in the South Sound contribute to their communities. However, labor unions are morally, financially and legally required to represent the interests of their members, who pay dues for that protection. If the Teamsters hadn’t drawn a line in the sand over these contract violations, even more egregious violations would almost certainly have followed.

How would any worker feel about seeing their hours reduced, their co-workers laid off or other reductions in their quality of work life only to see unpaid but well-meaning volunteers take up the slack? It seems to me the county didn’t give their workers the right that is spelled out in their contract to discuss the situation.

Is that the fault of the union or of the politicians and managers who direct their work?

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Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. jimkingjr says:

    The unions were not elected to run our government. It is amazing how the public sector unions’contracts creep more and more into the running of our government, and it is time for it to be stoppedv and rolled back.

  2. frankiethomas says:

    The gov’t doesn’t have the money to pay ANYONE to maintain that park so it was being used as a giant urinal. The neighbors/community complained to the county and offered to to take care of it themselves. The citizens even went through a training on how to use their OWN lawnmowers just to free up any liability the county might face. NO ONE lost a job over it becasue NO ONE was doing it. It was even negotiated with the citizens that they would STOP doing the work themselves when the county could again affor union labor. BOO frickin’HOO.

  3. Concernedfather says:

    That is absolutely correct, frankiethomas.
    The union is trying to misrepresent this case.
    The volunteers stepped in long AFTER the jobs were abandoned.

    That being said, we are now facing a good old Supply and Demand situatuion; our supply of funds is less than the unions demand. Time to let their contract expire and hire those who are willing to work for what we can afford.

  4. In this case it’s the union that is standing up for those taxpayers who are left with the task of volunteering to do that which they have already paid the county to do.

    The county has the responsibility of maintaining these parks. The union members understand this.

    Merryman missed a chance to put the blame where it belongs. Unless we’ve come to the point where, due to budget issues, the people of Pierce County, young and old, need to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to do it all, this picky choosy method of funding county work is the source of the problem, not county workers.

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