Letters to the Editor

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UNION: Look at both sides of the story

Letter by John L. Gehringer, Roy on Feb. 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm with 25 Comments »
February 22, 2011 2:48 pm

Re: “Original mandate grossly overstepped” (letter, 2-19).

Thanks to our unions, we have been able to raise wages, benefits and limit hours of work to humane levels, levels that the average family can survive on. This includes public sector workers, who the letter writer thinks are overpaid.

Most public sector employees have been shouldering the burden of rising costs and lackluster budgets. We have forgone or taken severely deflated COLA raises and have increased employee contributions to our pensions and medical care.

Get off your anti-union soap box and look at both sides of the story. If it were not for unions, this great country would be a quarter of what it is today. We would look like some third world country. Unions are not anarchists, but democratic, where everyone has a vote, every vote counts and we abide by the majority-wins rule.

We also support candidates of any party who look out for our family living wage issues. Do some research next time, find out who really is overpaid and you’ll find it is the nonrepresented management types who love to beat their workers down.

(Gehringer is president of Local Lodge 297, International Association of Machinists.)

Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. fbergford says:

    John….you need to read what FDR said about Public Employee Unions…remember he was a “pro-labor” Democrat President…he said this in 1937…

    “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the head of the National Federation of Federal Employees. In the private sector, organized employees and the employer meet across the bargaining table as (theoretical) equals. But in the public sector, said FDR, “the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.” Allowing public-employee unions to engage in collective bargaining would mean opening the door to the manipulation of government policy by a privileged private interest.”

    Unions in the private sector are alright, they do not belong in the PUBLIC sector!

  2. “if it were not for unions, this great country would be a quarter of what it is today”. So please explain the complete disintegration of our public schools since they have been controlled by the unions. How has the NEA an WEA improved the educational process? Are American kids receiving a quality education comparable to Korea, Japan, China, Germany and most other developed countries? You know the answer as well as I do.

  3. JudasEscargot says:

    “Unions in the private sector are alright, they do not belong in the PUBLIC sector!”

    Discriminate against public employees and not allow them the same rights to organize?

    Wasn’t there a time in America when Blacks and Women couldn’t have a say in how the government ran?

  4. JudasEscargot says:

    “So please explain the complete disintegration of our public schools since they have been controlled by the unions”

    It has nothing to do with unionism. False equivalency

  5. Fibonacci says:

    Again, what “everyone” knows about American education is usually false. I hade a friend go to japan to teach and lasted one year. What we are not told is that not all of there schools are the ones people like you point to. He was in a school for ‘jocks” and the students were lazy and did nothing. I had another friend teach in Germany for a year. They give tests before “high school” and lower students are sent to trade school. We send everyone to the same type of school, but don’t let that get in the way of what “everyone” knows.

  6. Fibonacci says:

    By the way, the purpose of the NEA and WEA has nothing to do with education, their job is to protect the rights of teachers. What has big business ever done for education Frosty?

  7. fbergford says:

    Judas once again you missed the point! FDR who was a PRO-LABOR Democrat President said this…did I mention anything about discrimination…NO stick to the points mentioned above and quit trying to change the subject!

  8. eagle_beak says:

    Mr. Gehringer, all that you say was true in the first half of the last century. many unions have since that time truly overstepped their reasons for being. automobile unions are one of the main reasons the car companies were bailed out. this state lost Boeing jobs and a major plant because of unions.
    state employee unions have gotten benefits that the rest of us only dream of.
    we have to pay part or most if not all of our own healthcare premiums and copays; we have to pay towards our own retirements. it is about time the state employees do the same. this change will happen whether they, or anyone else likes it or not.

  9. eagle_beak: Do you receive, or have you ever received any benefits whatsoever, through your work, such as receiving overtime for more than 40 hours per week? Do you, or have you ever received a fair wage for your labor? Received Unemployment insurance, or sick pay?

    If so, then you owe all of it to the piggy-back ride you’ve been taking on the backs of union workers.

  10. PumainTacoma says:

    John have you ever gone on strike? Well I have years ago and it was not fun. I work 60 hour weeks without overtime. Yet have to come home and hear poutie. Union people bitch and moan about working 7 hour days with an hour lunch then whine about not getting 100% pension or hea lth and then bitch about anything and everything. Crying wolf is an insult for my family who pays the public union wages, no more. It is about time we have blunt honest governors talk tough like governors Christie and Walker, so crocodile tears shed by my family!

  11. Fberg: FDR also opposed integrating the armed services. Does that mean we should still have segregation in this country?

    Eagle beak: Washington State union employees:
    Earn less than private sector workers doing the same job.
    Have agreed to pay freezes and cuts,
    Have agreed to increases in withholding for their retirement and health benefits.

    The last time Ford re-negotiated their contracts with the auto workers union, the company insisted that the unions either except major cuts in the health benefits or accept major increases in the withholdings. Then it came out, 80% of fords medical payouts were going to NON UNIONS executives and managers.

  12. David1964 says:

    Pumain, what public employees work a 7 hour day with an hour for lunch? If you are referring to teachers, we work a 7 and a half hour day with NO breaks every 2 hours (as is mandated for those in the public sector). We have a half hour lunch which is supposed to be duty free, but is usually scarffed down because some student has to spend their recess doing work they failed to complete at home or in the allotted time given. And, there are few teachers that put in 7 and a half hours and then call it quits for the day. Drive by any school and you’ll see several cars in the lot outside of the mandated staff day, every single day of the week. We have paid a portion of our medical benefits for years, and we have paid into our pension plan. Is it our fault that the state has irresponsibly underfunded or borrowed from our pension program?

  13. fibonacci, the “NEA and WEA have nothing to do with education”? You’re not serious are you? If there’s a lousy teacher in the classroom, who will step up and protect him? By default, the unions run the schools, it’s as simple as that. “What has big business done for education”? You should ask Bill Gates for starters. When you get your answer from him, I’ll give you some more names.

  14. frosty – do a little research about education in America. You will find that the “good old days” when education was supposedly so much better because the “evil unions” weren’t “in charge” weren’t so great if you expected education to achieve education of anyone who wasn’t white, male and wealthy. The high school graduation rates were abysmal and the numbers who went on to higher education were tiny.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation isn’t big business – it is a non-profit organization that is funded, primarily, by an individual, not a corporation.

  15. Frosty would never talk about all of the good teachers in the classrooms, he only hypothesizes about the possibility of there being a bad teacher, and then draws his own conclusions, based on his anti-union bios.

  16. beerboy, I know first hand as a high school drop out due to reasons beyond my control, that I learned more in my 101/2 years than many college grads who I served with in the military. I had an officer ask me to write memos for him because his spelling wasn’t so good. I’ve witnessed some of the dumbest decisions made by college grads in the military. I wasn’t one of those “white, wealthy” people you talk about. I enlisted at the age of seventeen and retired as an officer. No one gave me anything, I worked hard, got dirty and when I had some time I would study. How is it then that I, as a drop out could walk right into the military, take the GED test and pass it on the first attempt? It was because the elementary and Junior high school that I attended had a focus on teaching, not playing games. Teachers were not all smiles and buddy, buddy with their students. They did not come to work with the thought of entertaining the kids, when they walked into the classroom it was all business. The principal ran the school, not the union because there was no union.

  17. Polago, I believe I just answered your concern about my thoughts on teachers. Do you really think that you are the only person who has been to school or have interacted with a teacher? I’ve put five kids through school and in the process have have many face to face meetings with teachers. I can tell you that over the years it hasn’t gotten any better. Unions have done nothing for the kid’s education. Show me some stats.

  18. Frosty all you know is what Fox News tells you you know.You sound like a child with echolalia, parroting back, verbatim, what the idiots on Fox News tells you.

  19. John, These American hating gop members will not do any research. Research is what people who want the facts do. As Frosty and others have shown us,all they are interested in is maintaining their ideology at the expense of America and our values. That’s what we are seeing in Wisconsin.. the cult like ideology of the rightwing at work.

  20. “I can tell you that over the years it hasn’t gotten any better. Unions have done nothing for the kid’s education.”

    The union represents the teacher, frosty. The school board makes the decisions that impact the kid’s education.

    What is it that you think the union isn’t doing that is expected of it?

  21. That is interesting Sue, I didn’t see the story frosty told us anywhere on the Fox news site.


  22. Sue, you need to tune out of MSNBC and CNN and try to find something else to read besides the Daily Kos, Media Matters and Huffington. What experience do you have in doing anything constructive Sue? Again, I ask you supporters of teachers unions, show me the facts on how the education monopoly has improved education since the unions took over. I’m waiting. Sue, please take your meds.

  23. Polago, “the union represents the teacher”. Tell me something that I didn’t know Polago. Try to counter my comment about trying to fire a dead beat teacher. I’m not condemning all teachers, I’m talking about the union establishment that will go to any length to protect a teacher who should not be in the classroom. Anyone with a grain of sense knows that unions use intimidation to continue their rabid support of any teacher, regardless of skills, just to get the union dues to support their demokrat candidate.

  24. A deadbeat teacher can be fired, frosty. There is a process specifically for that purpose. Union members don’t want deadbeats any more than you do.

    What percentage of these teachers would you consider to be deadbeat?

  25. Polago, have you ever tried to fire a person in the public sector with a union? I have and I succeeded only after mounds of paperwork, appearances in grieveance appeals, negotiation panels, and finally an administatrative law judge. If you haven’t been there, you have nothing to add to the discussion. Asking me to give you a percentage of deadbeat teachers is a pretty slick ploy Polago, sorry, I’m not falling for it.

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