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Unions share the blame for their own decline

In America, the love of labor is lost | Nov. 1, Robyn Blumner column

Unions share blame for their decline

In her article Robyn Blumner bemoans the lack of influence of American labor unions and links it to the decline of our middle class. She then trots out Richard Trumka as the new tribune of the AFL-CIO and the one who will make labor relevant in the 21st century.

Huh? A simple Google search on Trumka would show he was accused of involvement in the campaign finance scandals involving the illegal transfer of funds to the campaign to re-elect Teamsters president Ron Carey. A bit more probing would uncover his subsequent refusal to testify by invoking the Fifth Amendment and the fact that no less a liberal institution than the New York Times called for him to resign his AFL-CIO post.

Unions are out of favor with the public for a variety of reasons including but not limited to a history of corruption and racketeering. Our middle class is disappearing for a variety of reasons including a very competitive global economy and the failure of our educational institutions to provide our kids with the skills required to compete in a global economy.

While there is plenty of blame to go around about who caused the demise of the U.S. auto industry, unions certainly played a contributing role. The fact is it would be hard to find a heavily unionized business or institution from manufacturing to air travel to education that is as productive as its nonunion competitors.

John Kriegsmann, Spring Hill

In America, the love of labor is lost | Nov. 1, Robyn Blumner column

Unions too often impose unfairness

Robyn Blumner in her column fails to realize a few additional "truths" about unions. I know because many members of my family belong to them. One of those truths is that unions take what are basically minimum-wage jobs and turn them into high costs for companies.

Here's a case in point. My nephew is a boilermaker. He had to go to school to qualify for his job. Every day he risks his life in the performance of that job. The company he works for wanted to give the boilermakers a raise to stay competitive within the market. The union stepped in and said that they want the money spread over all members in all jobs.

The reality will be that the guy who sweeps up, the guy who has done nothing to better himself, the guy who does not risk his life at work will end up making a salary darn near comparable to my nephew's salary.

I'm sure that my nephew's case isn't the only one that demonstrates the fundamental unfairness that unions can impose on members and companies. The truth from my perspective is that unions these days do more harm than good. And that's why I don't support them.

Pamela Treme, Land O'Lakes

The commander's duty | Nov. 1, editorial from the New York Times

Just a photo-op

President Barack Obama's midnight visit to Dover Air Force Base, Del., was nothing but another so-called "photo-op" for him, something he spends more time doing these days than taking the running of our country seriously.

If he wants us to believe his midnight visit to Dover Air Force Base was truly to honor the returning war dead, he needs to give top priority to his answer to the proposals from his generals.

In my 75 years of life in our great country, I've never seen one of our previous U.S. presidents so actively seeking "stardom" as President Obama.

Cardin A. Hesselton, Seminole

The commander's duty | Nov. 1, editorial from the New York Times

Leave Bush out of it

Why do people run down others while trying to make themselves look good? While I applaud the president for honoring our dead soldiers and showing compassion to the families, isn't that his duty as commander in chief? Why bring up the fact that President George W. Bush failed to do the same? It sort of ruined the reason for the article.

Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater

We should send more troops now | Nov. 2

Our needs at home

The letter writer's 35 years in the Army is evident in his assertion that our president is too "obsessed" with domestic affairs to make an intelligent decision on Afghanistan troop levels.

I suppose our elected leader should forget about the collapse of our economy, the health and well-being of Americans and the pollution that is choking the life out of our planet to plan for more bloodshed in the Middle East.

Let the generals fight the war?

Gee, I thought they worked for us, the taxpayers who are funding their chosen well-planned careers. Of course they want more troops: Their next promotion, which will be based on battlefield success, depends on it.

The blood of our troops will not be on President Barack Obama's hands if he brings them home.

Debra Hedding, Lutz

With great regret I submit my resignation Nov. 1

Needed candor

Thank you for publishing an excerpt of Matthew Hoh's resignation letter from the Foreign Service. It is so enlightening to see a someone who has been in the military speaking out against the war in Afghanistan with the absolute truth.

That's what we need more of in our bureaucracy. We need bureaucrats and other policymakers who don't succumb to "groupthink" from their peers and simply follow standard operating procedures.

Matthew Hoh says it like it is: The U.S. government is operating an unwinnable war by supporting an inept government in Afghanistan and only inciting more anti-American sentiment, which is now moving to Pakistan.

Additionally, Hoh was very respectful and honest in his letter. I admire him for being truthful and dignified despite his disgust with the current situation involving the U.S. government in Afghanistan.

Nora Zaki, Lithia

With great regret I submit my resignation Nov. 1

A tragic waste

Thank you so much for including excerpts from Matthew Hoh's resignation letter. It is my hope that this article serves to help our fellow Americans wake up and realize our tragic waste of life in Afghanistan.

Allow me to affirm that the net effect of our presence in Afghanistan is making an entrenched quagmire even worse.

Matthew Reimer, Clearwater

When love is not enough | Nov. 1, Floridian story

Shameful ordeal

The Atherton children should not have been taken from their home because their parents were poor. What that family went through was criminal. Who knows the terror those children may experience before they sleep wondering when they will have to leave home again.

Shame on those who set this ordeal in motion. There had to have been a kinder remedy to the financial problems faced by this family.

Glenda Pittman, St. Petersburg

Unions share the blame for their own decline 11/07/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 6:04pm]
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