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ELECTION: Don’t disparage candidate’s union ties

Letter by Gerald E. Baldwin, Gig Harbor on Aug. 5, 2010 at 11:55 am with 16 Comments »
August 9, 2010 9:20 am

In the Pierce County Council District 7 race, some want to make an issue of Todd Iverson’s membership in his union. What is wrong with being in a union?

I am an airline pilot and have been for more than 30 years. I am a union member. Why should that matter? It should matter because it gives me the confidence to determine if my airplane is airworthy, if the weather is right for departure or landing, and myriad other issues of safety. If you fly with me, you can rest assured that I have checked everything and determined that we are good to go.

That cannot be said of non-union operations. While the federal aviation regulations place that responsibility in the hands of the pilot in command, without protection from a union, the pilot in command is subject to dismissal for refusing to fly. We call it “pilot pushing,” and all managements get around to trying it sooner or later. Only my union can stop it.

Iverson, too, is responsible for safety – his and his peers. Working on docks and in and around ships is dangerous business. Without union support, we see issues as are in the news from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the West Virginia Upper Big Branch mine and the Delta Connection plane crash in Buffalo, N.Y.

Be careful about disparaging unions; the next casualty could be you.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. olympic says:

    It should matter because it gives me the confidence to determine if my airplane is airworthy, if the weather is right for departure or landing, and myriad other issues of safety. If you fly with me, you can rest assured that I have checked everything and determined that we are good to go.

    That cannot be said of non-union operations.

    So when it takes a week to paint a room in a school building that is considered good labor?

  2. olympic says:

    Be careful about disparaging unions; the next casualty could be you.

    For a pilot to say such a statement is appauling… stop the scare tactics and threats… I hope your temper is better flying than writing.

  3. Sumner401 says:

    Unions are so scary!
    glen beck told me they were!

  4. headedsouth says:

    Baldwin’s letter is giving Unions a bad name by threatening people!!

  5. headedsouth says:

    Baldwin – i know you are a liberal democrat, an Officer of the 26th District Democrats and contributed $1,000.00 to Iverson’s campaign.

  6. george14017 says:

    I have never held a job covered by a union contract nor belonged to a union. However, growing up during The Great Depression and having been in-house counsel (attorney) for a union (WGA-West) I appreciate what unions have done for everyone by lifting the income of all and pushing for safe working conditions.
    The recent coal mine deaths in a non-union mine illustrate the point since survivors said they didn’t report safety violations for fear of losing the job. To me being a union member is just one more plus for a candidate. Belief in a specific candidate is why people make financial contributions, so of course they will support that candidate.

  7. jandkgibbs says:

    I was a dues paying member of the IAM for 21 years. There was a time in our history that unions were beneficial. That day has passed. Now the unions take worker pay and make sure that important facilities that allow them to smoke are being provided. Yes, I had numerous grievances and unfair labor practice complaints filed against me as a production manager. When a group of losers come into my office filing paper on me so the socially acceptable drug addicts in my crew can smoke, that’s when I said the unions have out lived their purpose in life.

    Unions have destroyed the education system in this country, have driven manufacturing jobs out of the county, and taken over the democratic party in this country creating a partisan atmosphere that stops political progress. Now they order Nancy Pelosi back to DC to bail them out again with deficit spending. Unions are a cancer to this country and the “right to work” is the cure.

    Flying in this country is safe because airline companies will not be in business if their planes are not safe and on time. That’s called “Capitalism”.

    Todd Iverson is a union hack, a member of the union and his top contributors are unions and democrat advocacy groups. Do you really think he will be the candidate to cut wadges and freeze hiring in Pierce county or will he be there to make sure union members are protected and they continue to receive their pay raises and increased benefits while we all tighten our belts.

    Now is the time to vote out all democrats in all positions not elect more of them. And yes, I am a Republican and working for real change.

  8. As a union member, jandkgibbs, were you ever in favor of cutting wages and freezing hiring? Let me rephrase that. As a middle class employee, union or not, were you ever in favor of cutting wages and hiring freezes? As an American wage earner, did those thoughts ever cross your mind?

    Not hardly. You wanted what every other working person wanted, prosperity.

    You say that, “Unions have destroyed the education system in this country.” Our education system has not been destroyed, and if it were properly funded and with increased parental support it would be better than it is now.

    You say that unions “have driven manufacturing jobs out of the county.” If by working for safety in the workplace, reasonable hours, a living wage, and fair and reasonable contracts with employers, to name just a few, then they are guilty.

    But, you and I both know that it was corporate greed that outsourced all of those good union jobs. You and I both know that the American workforce cannot compete with the poverty wages and inhumane working conditions in those third world countries that causes corporate America to salivate. You wouldn’t have wanted to work under those conditions and neither does any other self respecting American.

    I hope that Todd Iverson IS there to protect union and non-union workers alike.

    Your brand of “real change” sounds too much like the “race to the bottom” to suit me.

  9. jandkgibbs says:

    Rebuttal to palago,

    “As a middle class employee, union or not, were you ever in favor of cutting wages and hiring freezes? As an American wage earner, did those thoughts ever cross your mind?”

    Yes, when it meant my brothers and sister could keep their jobs when public budgets are cut. It’s called taking a bullet for a friend. It’s the American way.

    “Unions have destroyed the education system in this country.”

    We pay the most per student in the world and have the highest drop out rate. Teachers unions don’t improve your child’s education they only make it a hell of a lot more expensive. Go tutor a kid in public school like I do and you will see how poor the system has become.

    You say that unions “have driven manufacturing jobs out of the county.

    Have you ever tried to get a job done in today’s climate of OSHA and union stewards watching your every move. It’s no wonder we can’t build anything in this county anymore. No nuc plants, or power dams or even build the monument to the Twin Towers in NYC. Unions and government are the cancer. Corporations are trying to survive and stay in business. They are trying to survive in a country who’s government works hard to put them out of business. I can’t blame them for leaving. Those evil corporate dividends fund all of our retirement plans.

    You say , “Your brand of real change sounds too much like the race to the bottom”

    We are already at bottom and democrats and unions were the train that brought us here. Yes that true, why are unemployment numbers so high, why are companies not hiring? Only government is hiring as a pay back to their public worker union masters.

    The agenda of the union controlled government has created such uncertainty that corporations can’t make a business decision is they don’t know the rules. Obama and his union bosses seem to want the county to fail so we can fulfill his dream of a socialized America. The public is starting to figure this out.

  10. jandkgibbs:

    Don’t forget that Doug Richards, Republican candidate for state representative 26th District, and Chuck West, Democratic candidate for Pierce County Council seat Distrct 7, are union members (IAFF) and public employees’ union members at that. Richards’ voting record also shows that he only bothers to vote when there is a fire or emergency services levy at stake.

    Terry Lee, Republican and the current Pierce County councilmember from District 7, is a union member and he has not yet caused the end of the world as we know it.

  11. Sumner401 says:

    Unions have destroyed the education system in this country, have driven manufacturing jobs out of the county, and taken over the democratic party in this country creating a partisan atmosphere that stops political progress. Now they order Nancy Pelosi back to DC to bail them out again with deficit spending. Unions are a cancer to this country and the “right to work” is the cure.

    Yep, thats what glen beck told me too!
    Good thing I’m smart enough not to believe word that clown says.

  12. Back atchya, jandkgibbs.

    “Yes, when it meant my brothers and sister could keep their jobs when public budgets are cut. It’s called taking a bullet for a friend. It’s the American way.

    Your use of the phrase “brothers and sister(s)” intermingled with your anti union rhetoric seems disingenuous at best. Lowering wages has never created a job.

    “We pay the most per student in the world and have the highest drop out rate.”

    Got proof?

    “Teachers unions don’t improve your child’s education they only make it a hell of a lot more expensive.”

    More opinion than fact, wouldn’t you say? Why didn’t you comment on the issue of class size and parental involvement, which private schools always brag about, and the teachers union continually tries to promote?

    “Have you ever tried to get a job done in today’s climate?”

    Again, you sidestep the real issue of the poverty wages and working conditions found in those third world countries that those benevolent American corporations salivate over.

    “We are already at bottom” Really?

    So, you think that lower wages wouldn’t drag us down even further?

    Q. “Why are companies not hiring?”

    A. From, http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/08/06/1292423/3rd-month-of-weak-hiring-signals.html

    “For the third straight month, the private sector hired cautiously in July. And those meager gains in the job market were nearly wiped out by tens of thousands of cuts at all levels of government.” -The government is laying off!!

    “Making matters worse: Many of the new jobs that are being created do not pay well enough to significantly jump-start spending by shoppers and stimulate the broader economy.” -Good paying jobs stimulate the economy!!

    We need to bring back those outsourced manufacturing jobs that are the basis of any thriving economy. Tariffs work.

    Last but not least, the hogwash winner is: “Obama and his union bosses seem to want the county to fail so we can fulfill his dream of a socialized America.”

    Limbaugh told you that, didn’t he?

  13. jandkgibbs says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how liberals love to blame Beck and Limbaugh for the views voiced by conservatives. I could say that it’s progressives that are the mindless automatons programmed buy MSNBC’s Matthews, Olbermann and the other Soros talking heads, but I won’t. It’s time we have a debate based on facts if we are to solve problems with education.

    Obama himself admits the schools are broken and has started “race to the top”. A program despised by the teachers unions because it requires states to fire the bad teachers and tempers the union control over educations. WA state teachers will tell you they don’t like this idea but Obama knows who else are they going to vote for?

    Why do you see parents line up in NY to win a spot for their child in charter schools. This is bigger than a lotto win for these people. And when they don’t win one of the cherished they break down in tears. When they realize their child is condemned to public school they know their child’s future is doomed.

    Data can be spun to make anyone look good. I talk to parents who tell me the stories about the bad schools. I look at their homework with mis-spelled words and incorrect math problems but their teachers give them a B so the test score averages are manipulated. I recently looked at a 9th grade book report and there were few complete sentences and the child got an A- on the paper and the report made no sense when read. Did you know that even if parents want to hold back their child the schools are now saying NO?

    According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education, Washington actually ranks 28th in per pupil expenditures, when capital costs are included, and 35th when only operating expenses are counted. These figures are for 2004-05, and do not include the 28% increases in education spending the legislature enacted since then.

    Here are some facts on WA state schools,

    Each year Washington spends more than $9,500 per student, more than at any time in state history, adjusted for inflation.

    This amounts to $237,500 for a classroom of 25 students for a nine-month year. Even if the teacher’s salary were $100,000, all the rest would be available for administration and special programs.

    As it is, less than 59 cents of every education dollar reaches the classroom.

    Over 35 years, the number of students grew 25%, while the number of public school employees grew 77%.

    The majority of public education employees are not classroom teachers.

    Public schools may not hire just any qualified person to teach. Only people holding a state-approved certificate are allowed. None of the 5,000 people being laid off at Microsoft can teach in a public school, although private schools will be able to hire these talented individuals.

    Less than 36% of 8th graders have achieved grade-level proficiency in math and reading on the NAEP, the national “gold-standard” for assessing student achievement.

    About one-third of public high school students fails to graduate from high school.

    Over half (52 percent) of students entering community or technical colleges have to take remedial math, English or reading courses to catch up. 37 percent of stduents entering our two-year and four-year collegs must take remedial math or English courses.

    Taxpayers are providing public school administrators with ample funding–over $9 billion a year to educate one million students.

    Members of your own team like Bill Gates scream every year that schools are failing and he needs imigrants from Inda and China to fill his hi-tech jobs. The problem, Jack and Jill graduate and can’t read, write or solve math problems. Let’s call a truce and agree to disagree on this issue but lets also agree it’s time to try someting new. But before that will happen the teacher’s union must help and admit the present system is not working and it takes more than just more tax dollors to fix it.

    It’s an encouraging start when I see both D’s and R’s in my community helping kids. I for one am trying to help a struggling child, how about you? Hillary was right, it does take the whole village to raise and educate a child. The unions must lossen their grip of power to allow change to occur.

  14. People like Bill Gates and myself want Public Schools to improve and thrive, and you sound like you’re also on board. I applaud your commitment to tutor a struggling student.

    Please admit that your characterization of public school teachers is, in general, incorrect and may only apply to a very few, jandkgibbs.

    Working with the teachers, union, students, and schools is the way to get the best results. Putting them in a defensive position is usually counterproductive.

    You can catch more flys with honey.

  15. headedsouth says:

    Bang up job with the letter Gerry. I hope the members of your Democrat Club that are not mindless liberal robots see this and vote you out of office.

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