Letters to the Editor

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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 | 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.

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