Letters to the Editor

Unions were unfairly portrayed in column

The May 10 printing of blogger Mickey Kaus' opinions about unions needs a response. Calling unions "America's lead weight," he lays most of society's ills at the feet of labor unions, claiming they are dominating our economic landscape and bleeding our coffers dry while protecting lazy, inefficient employees and resisting change at all costs.

Unions have always been a popular scapegoat, especially for people who just can't imagine much wrongdoing by our wonderful captains of industry. According to Mr. Kaus it was the autoworkers' union to blame for GM's troubles. Our second-rate public education system is also a victim of those tyrannical teacher's unions. Just get into a government union and the next stop is an undeserved retirement on Easy Street!

Pardon my sarcasm, but in fact, the influence of unions has never recovered from President Reagan's dismantling of PATCO, the air traffic controllers' union. For people who've spent a lifetime earning a paycheck as a teacher, an assemblyline worker or a transit engineer, what unions have done, and continue to do, is protect them against the regular abuse and mistreatment of businessmen whose loyalty is mainly to their stockholders. For every employee who has managed to abuse union benefits, there are a hundred for whom the union has allowed them to live out their later years simply being able to care for themselves.

Please remember the role the banking and insurance industries have played in our recent troubles. It wasn't union greed that led to wild speculation in financial matters, just as it wasn't union demands that resulted in American automobiles of inferior quality to Honda and Toyota. And don't even get me started on the schools!

Avram Chetron


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