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Readers' forum: Protect workers

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 2:45 p.m.

    @Irony Guy | 12:53 p.m. Feb. 20, 2012
    Bountiful, Utah

    It was Las Vaegas,

    I'm guessing Mike Richards got snookered by someone along the strip,
    and rather than admit he'd been had,
    makes up a story about it being a Union or Gangster thugs shaking him down.

    Makes for a better story...

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    I work for a multinational corporation and have personally been involved in setting up trade show exhibits at large public venues in NV and CA and FL, including municipal convention centers. I have NEVER experienced what Mike Richards describes. We carry our own stuff and plug it in ourselves. No "union thugs" involved. I'm not calling Mike Richards a liar, but I am wondering about the bizarre world he lives in.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    homebrew | 8:53 a.m. Feb. 20, 2012
    South Jordan, UT

    I'll go to Costco. A real company that pays a living wage.

    ============

    Costco --
    Better quality products [American Union made intems for the most part],
    Better quality service,
    Cheaper than WalMart,
    and Employees making TWICE as much WalMart workers.

    The difference?

    The CostCo owners aren't the richest Family in the World.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    Unions set the wage standard that built the middle class. Some of you people obviously GOP people just dont get it. You never will. Democrats are for working people. The Gop is anti worker. Those are the facts. Obama wants to create good paying jobs. Mitt wants to create jobs. Like the ones at Walmart. I personally never shop at Walmart. Walmart is exactly what is wrong with this country. Cheap, slave labor making products that cheap people buy. Have you ever looked around at the people in Walmart? Not Mitts kinda people. Looks like a third world country inside walmart. Thats what their products are. Third world products. They can keep them. I'll go to Costco. A real company that pays a living wage.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:58 a.m.

    First of all this thread is a prime example of political rhetoric today. Everbody is talking at one another and not with one another. Sometimes that's fun but always unproductive. Again the union issue is not an either or situation. Unions are the only hope workers have of large influence in the work place. Unions are responsible for the modern work place, and the decline of unions is a primary factor in the growing wealth inequality in America. At the same time..union negotiating is not a zero sum game, so each time the union comes to the table they aren't starting over with current circumstances, they are attempting to add to circumstances that were relevant decades ago. Unfortunately that makes happenings like Mike Richards talked about real..not everywhere..but real. It also makes it true that in many public union circumstances becuase it's not a zero sum game, early on great benefits were won, then later good wages were won now both together aren't sustainable..giving the Walkers of the world the ammunition they need to destroy the only source of influence public workers have, and of course the rhetoric carries over to the private sector.

    Unions need to survive and actually grow if we're going to ever decrease the wealth inequality in this country but this will never happen if the pro union side continues to defend a dinasour. Good examples are out there..not room here, but look them up.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 10:26 p.m.

    @wrz.Wow you proved my point entirely. Politicians sold us out to corporate America. They passed trade agreements that benefit the few at the expense of many.

    "Go to any Walmart"

    Sorry I don't shop at Walmart because they treat their workers poorly and they sell junk.

    "Look at the tag in my pants and shirts"

    They are American made. My Saturn is eleven years old and American made. My Ford is American made. My Bunn coffee maker is American made. I could go on.

  • wrz Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:49 p.m.

    Shaun:

    "I guess we should all just work for two dollars a day in horrible conditions, have no vacation pay, sick pay, or retirement, but at least we would all have jobs."

    I'm sorry to inform, but we are now in a global market. Which means we have to compete cost-wise with other workers around the globe. Sorry but the glory days of unions are a thing of the past. The only hope you have as a union guy is getting a job where we have no foreign competition such flipping hamburgers at a fast food, selling insurance, or government work.

    Go to any Wal-Mart and see where the merchandise on the shelves is manufactured... you'll find Indonesia, China, Japan. Mostly China. I bought a Casio digital wrist watch there for ten bucks... made in China. Could one of your union workers make the watch for that price? Look at the tag in your shirt or pants... Where were they manufactured? We lost the textile manufacturing years ago. Why? High union wages and benefits drove them out.

    Sorry that you have to work for two dollars a day in horrible conditions. Perhaps you need to talk it over with the politicians who ran our national debt up to obscene levels. We can't place tariffs on China imports to level the playing field lest they refuse to fund out national debt. We are caught between a rock and a hard place.

    "Why is it not okay for a person to earn a decent living?"

    Go to china were the jobs are.

    "I guarantee union members pay more taxes and because they have health insurance and retirement benefits they do not have to rely on others for assistance."

    You can't pay taxes and buy insurance if your job has been moved overseas. So, instead of paying taxes you have to draw government welfare.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 7:49 p.m.

    @Alfred. I guess we should all just work for two dollars a day in horrible conditions, have no vacation pay, sick pay, or retirement, but at least we would all have jobs.

    Why is it not okay for a person to earn a decent living? I guarantee union members pay more taxes and because they have health insurance and retirement benefits they do not have to rely on others for assistance.

  • Mark l SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 7:24 p.m.

    Unions don't understand simple economics. There is a market clearing price for labor. There is a myth that the US has moved all it's manufacturing overseas. We no longer need as many people because of automation. That is a good thing because the machines can do the repetitive simple tasks much more efficiently.

  • Mr. Bean Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:55 p.m.

    Furry1993: "If you work a 40-hour work week, thank the unions."

    If you lost your job becasue it went overseas, thank the unions.

    Examples: Call this paper for assistance and you get... (gasp) someone in India, Barbados, Canada, etc. Call your phone company for assistance and you get... (gasp) the same result. If the guy on the other end speaks with broken English... You get the picture.

    VST: "The majority of today's Union member's work for Federal, State, and Local Governments; not the private sector."

    That's because government jobs can't be outsourced.

    All American: "The problem at hand is that public employees should never have been allowed to unionize..."

    Nothing wrong with government employee unions... provided they are restricted in some manner such as striking. The Traffic Controllers who illegally walked off got their comeuppance and rightly so.

    cjb: "Unions are an important piece in this."

    True. But they got greedy. Greed has its disadvantage such as driving good businesses into bankruptcy or overseas.

    LDS Liberal: "Fact -- Companies with Unions still employ Americans, Companies without Unions moved, and employ the Communists in China."

    You got that exactly backwards.

    LDS Liberal: "I predict Obama unseating Ronald Reagan for greatest landslide election victory in the last 40 years."

    You could be correct but not for obvious reasons. The real reasons (as explained by Walter Williams in a recent piece in the DNews) are: Hispanic vote, African-American vote, vote of all unemployed American workers on welfare, vote of Americans receiving government hand-outs, and Americans who pay no income taxes. Obama should get about 80 percent of the votes.

  • Alfred Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:18 p.m.

    Esquire:

    "I have found it ironic that U.S. companies take good jobs overseas..."

    I have found it ironic that union members such as yourself, do not realize these US companies go overseas where they can avoid the high labor costs that unions demand.

    "In the long run, sticking it to your own people is nothing but slow suicide."

    There's some more irony for you... You and your unions are the ones committing suicide as more and more jobs move overseas. You need to wise up. Unions have seen their day come and go.

  • wrz Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:10 p.m.

    "We demand this fraud be stopped."

    The fraud that needs to be stopped is union rip-off of the public. Government (state, federal) employee union wages far exceed private sector wages. Wisconsin had to take drastic action that it did in order to avoid bankruptcy.

    Furthermore, this country has moved into a global economy which means, if we are to keep jobs here we must compete world-wide. How do we do that? Cut wages (the most costly part of manufacturing) to levels competitive with foreign manufacturers such as China, Japan and India. Sorry union guys, but them's the facts.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:57 p.m.

    Mike Richards.

    Recently we needed to upgrade the family cell phones. The upgrade was only available if we would sign up for a 2 year contract. And if we downgrade during the 2 years, we are charged a fee just to stop the service.

    Our washing machine has developed a leak. My wife tells me that she doesnât want to call a repair man because the base charge is over a hundred dollars just to have him come.

    Earlier this year we paid a man seventy five dollars to replace a fan belt on my roof top cooler. Took him almost ten minutes. His base fee would have been sixty five dollars if we had not needed the new belt.

    Have your talked to a lawyer lately? A doctor, even a nurse? Who does your teeth?

    Some time ago I needed home care. A nurse came to my house, spending 15 minutes or so. Checking later showed that Medicare was paying a thousand dollars a day for her to do that.

    You need to look at the results before you point your finger, I'll bet thereâs not one millionaire among any of those people you mentioned.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:55 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" I hate to tell you this, but everything that you say about the GOP can be said equally about the Democrats.

    Lets look at their record, not just rhetoric.

    The Democrats enacted a SS tax break over a year ago. This tax break will contribute to the implosion of SS. Why are the Democrats out to destroy SS through sucking the life out of it?

    The Democrats are anti-worker, or at least anti-US worker. When the Democrats were proposing their Cap-and-Trade bill, it included incentives for companies to move their manufacturing overseas. Also, lets not forget it was Obama, who added $9 billion in red tape in 1 month last year. This sort of action pushes companies to seek countries that are business friendly.

    The Democrats are anti-Healthcare also. Just look at the healthcare bill. It was designed to take care of less than 50% of the uninsured, it raised the cost of insurance through new mandates, and increased its overall cost through taxes on premium insurance plans. If they really wanted to provide care to the uninsured, why not create a government agency full of doctors, clinics and labs? Why go after the middleman?

    They are anti-women's issue because they want to make sex more acceptable, and eliminate the consequences of insufficient protection. Women are complaining about the lack of decent men to marry, why are Democrats not addressing that? Couldn't we eliminate the "women's issues" if men were taught to be a man and wait until marriage for sex?

    The Democrats are anti-taxing the wealthy. Just look at the tax cuts they have allowed to either continue or to be passed. The Bush tax cuts expired in December 2010, the Democrat controlled congress and President extended those cuts.

    The Democrats are Pro-War. Just look at how quick they were to send US planes into Libya, the surge into Afghanistan, and the troops into Africa. Also, consider this, if they are so anti-war, why have they funded it for the past 11 years? Why not defund the war and pull the troops back immediately, they have the ability to do so whenever they want.

    The Democrats are pro-uber wealthy. Just look at who is benefiting from much of their legislation. You have Soros' railroads benefiting from stopping the Keystone pipeline, you have Gore that would have benefited from cap and trade, and the executives at GE that benefited by not having to pay corporate income taxes.

    Tell us again how different your beloved democrats are.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:40 p.m.

    one old man,

    I don't like being called a liar.

    It was at PMA. The booth was rented by Lucht Engineering. Orrin Lucht, living in Farmington, Minnesota, owned the company. Steven Bartz, head of engineering, was by primary contact.

    You have the right to say whatever you want, but you had better back up your facts if you ever call me a liar again.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:01 p.m.

    I feel bad for whoever wins the GOP Presidential nomination.

    The GOP platform of being --

    anti-Social Security
    anti-worker
    anti-Healthcare
    anti-Women's issues
    anti-Taxing the Uber-Wealthy
    but
    Pro-War
    Pro-WallStreet
    Pro-Uber Wealthy

    shows just how out of touch the GOP has become to the 99%.

    I predict Obama unseating Ronald Reagan for greatest landslide election victory in the last 40 years.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 3:40 p.m.

    Fact --

    Companies with Unions still employ Americans,
    Companies without Unions moved, and employ the Communists in China.

    Therefore,
    Unions are Pro-American,
    Anti-Union Conservatives are ANTI-American.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 2:05 p.m.

    Let's take a look at the Republican party and Unions, recently. October '11:

    ** 'Mitt Romney steers clear of Ohio health, union issues' - By Dan Sewell - AP - Published by DSNews - 10/25/11

    Then:

    ** 'Mitt Romney reverses himself, supports anti-union law' - By Philip Elliott - AP - Published by DSNews - 10/26/11

    'FAIRFAX, Va. â A day after he refused to endorse an Ohio ballot measure that limits public employee union rights, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he is "110 percent" behind the effort.' â article

    A complete reversal in stance, in just x24 hours.

    Result?

    ** âOhio voters reject Republican-backed union limitsâ â By Julie Carr Smyth â AP â Published by Dsnews â 11/08/11

    If it's 'about the economy stupid'...how does the Republican party look...trying to keep Americans in sweat shops?

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 1:04 p.m.

    There needs to be a balance beween Unions and Management/owners. The companies are united. Workers need to be united too, or else workers will not get their just share of the wealth they help to produce.

    Even workers who aren't a member of a union or who work at a place that is unionized benefit from workers who do unite.

    Without the threat of unions and the laws that unions have helped to pass, workers would not have nearly what they have today.

    Unless we want a world where management and owners get way more than their share of the wealth and workers don't get their due, people need to guard against this.

    Unions are an important piece in this.

  • All American Herriman, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    Most of you are missing the point of Republicans against unions - including the author of this letter, Terryl Erickson. Wisconsin's governor is not against unions, nor is he trying to get rid of them. He is only against "public employee unions" using taxpayer money to line the pockets of the union leaders and confiscate tax dollars by continuously trying to raise salaries, give public employees free healthcare, and overly generous retirements at taxpayer expense.

    It is true that because of unions, we all have better working conditions than there were back in the day of their origination. We don't need unions nearly a much today as we did back then. In fact, IMHO, we don't need unions at all - but that's another story.

    The problem at hand is that public employees should never have been allowed to unionize - not when they are being paid with my tax dollars and yours. Why should the tax dollars of someone making $10 an hour contribute to a public employee's healthcare? And if public employees feel they need to fork out a big chunk of their paycheck to have someone speak for them, I call that copping out. Private sector employees handle their own issues. And why do most public employees make more money (taxpayer funded) than a comparable job in the private sector?

    It's just fine if you union members want to fork out money to your union, but you are also paying for public employees. So you are double paying money that could be in your pocket. How does that sit with you?

    The cushy government jobs have been well-known for years and years. There is nothing different now, except that the public is tired of funding those cushy jobs with great healthcare and better retirement than most of the rest of us. The time has come for the taxpayers to stand up to public employee unions - we've had enough of paying for them.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 12:33 p.m.

    The GOP is dedicated to taking us all back to the Gilded Age when wealthy people made no attempt to hide their exploitation of the workers who provided their wealth.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    Mike Richards -- your 9:19 post is pure fantasy.

    I just returned from a California trade show and never came across anything like your "experience."

    Have you ever considered just telling the truth?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    The GOP doesn't care about Ameircans getting jobs.

    And have said as much:

    ** 'John Boehner: If GOP Cuts Cause Federal Job Losses...'So Be It' - Huffington Post - 02/15/11

    ** âSenate Republicans likely to kill Obama jobs billâ â By Andrew Taylor â AP â Published by DSNews â 10/11/11

    ** âMitt Romney: âI like being able to fire peopleâ for bad serviceâ â By Lucy Madison/Sarah Boxer â CBS News â 01/09/12

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    Although weâve come a long way baby, thereâs still a long way to go and itâs all uphill.

    Some tell us we are not like the other animals. We have the ability to think and therefore are no longer enslaved by our natural needs and desires. They try to hide the fact that we still live in a jungle where the strong eat the weak.

    I think the ones telling us that, are ones who have not let go of their predatory nature.

    The same people who propagandize freedom and liberty are the same people who would strip people of their freedom and liberty in their quest for wealth.

    Business, who owns the government, wants to create un unfair game where they have the advantage and can diminish the power of their opponents. In this case, those people who are workers and consumers.

    They claim freedom for themselves, in actions, size and motivation, while working diligently to prevent worker/consumer combinations that could ask for equal treatment.

    They tout personal responsibility and singular effort as virtue to prevent cooperative power for their âfriendly enemiesâ in the worker/consumer group.

    They demean, mischaracterize as evil and use all sorts of detrimental propagandizing to weaken and remove protection from their prey.

    The thing we have going in our favor is the union we call America, membership is automatic though not mandatory, dues are required and to some extent we get to vote.

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    If you work a 40-hour work week, thank the unions. If you are paid at an overtime rate for working more than 40 hours a week, thank the unions. If you have two days a week off, thank the unions. If you have a paid vacation, thank the unions. If you have holidays off, thank the unions. If you have safe working conditions, And a lot more.

    Granted unions can go over-the-top on occasion, BUT the decent working conditions we have now are all thanks to past union activities. Thanks to them for the work they have done in the past that makes all of our lives better now.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    Great letter. The Gop has been on the attack ever since Ronny Reagan fired the air traffic controlers. Deregulation destroyed the trucking and airline industies. Destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs. What we need is a national union, where everyone has healthcare. Oh wait Obama and the rest of congress passed the affordable healthcare act. Good start.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:43 a.m.

    If you have ever worked for a competitive wage or received a company paid benefit such as health insurance or had a system of airing grievances in the work place then you owe appreciation to organized labor. In right to work states you work for less and are more likely to be injured and injured more seriously. These are facts that fools don't appreciate until something happens or they try to find another job. If you think wages have been stagnant in the past 20 years, which they have, then take away the only form of true democracy in the workplace and see what happens. Yes, power corrupts but when the dictators have no push back you are another step closer to slavery.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    Let me tell you of an experience that I had at a trade show in Las Vegas. I had developed an electronic device that one of my customers wanted to display in his booth. In order to do that, I had to "hire" a teamster to carry my laptop sized package into the building. I had to "hire" a carpenter to open the card-board box and I had to "hire" an electrician to plug the device into an electrical socket. Each union member charged $20 cash. After the trade show ended, I had to pay those three unions to "help" me with that device. It cost $120.

    No one was allowed to do the ordinary things that we all do everyday.

    If the unions had their way, a teamster would have to carry our groceries from the store to the car and a member of the electricians union would have to be called to change our light bulbs.

    Unions want us to be forced to pay them for jobs that we can do, and then they want a very nice retirement. Look at GM and Chrysler.

    Thank goodness Utah is a right to work State.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    Years ago I worked for a very large company that had no "union problem." Reason? They took good care of their employees and provided great benefits. Employers don't realized that taking good care of their employees is the surest way to long term success. Working with unions can lead to great results. Unions, representing the employees, can be great partners. Stop looking at employees and unions as the enemy, and all will thrive over the long term. I have found it ironic that U.S. companies take good jobs overseas, and then wonder why they have a weaker consumer base her at home. In the long run, sticking it to your own people is nothing but slow suicide.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    Couldn't have said it better myself. I can't wait to read what mike richards, redshirt, mountain man and others have to say.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Feb. 19, 2012 7:40 a.m.

    unions are responsible for raising prices and hurting businesses which employ people. They have not helped too many people.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 7:17 a.m.

    It is simple, if someone doesn't want to give a chunk of their paycheck to a union thug, they should not be forced to do so. It is called freedom.