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Letters to the Editor

Unions are the last chance

Jim Ammerman April 20th, 2011

Like all good water muddiers, there is a grain of truth in their arguments. Tom Furlong (Letters, “No sympathy for professor,” April 13, Gazette) credits Jimmy Carter with the beginning of the end of unions.

Yes, Carter did sign acts that weakened the unions, by deregulating the railroads and motor carriers, whose genesis dates back to initiatives started with Nixon and carried through to Reagan’s coup de grâce of the air traffic controllers.

I have but a simple understanding to the convoluted Republican obfuscation of our budget woes by blaming collective bargaining at every opportunity. During the last six years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and for the first six years of the Bush presidency, there was one hell of a party thrown by the Republicans. Everyone was invited. Banking rules to keep mom-and-pop savings and loan banks from being investment banks became passé. Environmental and safety rules were laughed at in coal mining and oil exploration.

This party racked up a bunch of bills and IOUs and the son of a Bush didn’t have a clue what was going on in his “ownership society” that he bragged about in his State of the Union speeches. When George finally saw what he had wrought, he made a deal with the devils of Wall Street to put it right.

Today, those same pious, fiscally responsible, self-made bootstrapping Republicans are stiffing the caterers, cooks, waitstaff, valets, ice sculptors, florists, dry cleaners and the band. What makes it really funny is they are convincing the Kool-Aid drinkers that it was those union cooks and union valets that demanded too much for their services and put us on this road to perdition.

Now there is a budget to be balanced and every last dime needs to be squeezed from those that enabled the Republicans in their myopic partying. Those same cooks and valets need to pony up to balance the budget, leaving scarce funds to give to noble causes. It brings a warm fuzzy math feeling to your tummy when you think about how the über-rich are going to step out of the way and let Mimi and PapPap freeze to death in the dark of night, for the good of their grandchildren.

Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget by gutting the social safety net will work, but just about the same amount of money — dollar-for-dollar — can be had by letting the Bush tax cuts for the über-rich expire. Unions, with their organization and fundraising, are the only impediment to complete Republican control and the only force large enough to challenge the Wall Street snake oil salesmen and the corporate greed that they serve. They are the only chance of a balanced argument left in this Republic.

—Jim Ammerman

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04.21.2011 at 07:37 Reply

Allow me to quote my own response to Tom Furlong's letter.

"What must be understood here is that the presence of a union in the market place helps keep non-union businesses in check.  Those businesses who don’t want someone looking over their shoulder tend to make employment policy that keeps their people just happy enough to prevent unionization.   This means that once you’ve eliminated the threat of unionization across the board, every business and government will begin cutting benefits to their employees."

Mr. Furlong seems indifferent to the fact that Unions can have a positive impact on his own employment regardless of whether or not he is part of a union.


As for your comments, I can't remotely disagree with any of your statements.  That's a very fair interpretation of how our debt came to pass.  And thank you for not glazing over the fact that deregulation began at the end of the Clinton Administration (when the republican's held majority in congress).  It serves to illustrate that everyone has blood on their hands, and we'd do well to acknowledge that fact.  Maybe then we can stop being so damn partisan, and start giving a crap about the whole country instead of the elite few.