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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Unions need to be stronger

To The Editor:

John Hilferty should be ashamed of himself. John, do you know any teachers, any fire or policemen, any person who works on the road crew? They absolutely need their unions or they would go back to making peanuts for their contribution to society. That’s the reason the union exists and you should already know this. They do not “suck the life out of us” any more than private sector unions do by demanding better wages and working conditions.

It is offensive to me when workers want other workers to be poor. Historically, you’re wrong too. Public unions have never ever held anybody hostage. It’s immoral to suggest that making a decent wage is akin to some sort of economic terrorism. Public sector workers have never “blackmailed” anyone and it was not the issue in Wisconsin. The inherited billions of the Koch brothers have been used much more effectively to blackmail than any union, private or public.

But, in fact, low wages and lack of public sector jobs are drastically slowing the growth of our society right now. This is according to two Nobel prize-winning economists, Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, who predicted this giant recession. Their recommendation, which neither Bush nor Obama heeded, is to spend those trillion dollars directly on public infrastructure jobs, not on a bailout for the banks.

Wages for workers, all workers, need to go up, not down, so that they can spend now to get private sector employers to hire more workers making all sectors more healthy. Wages have never been lower in comparison to corporate profits and GDP. Unions, both public and private sector, need to be stronger, not weaker.

Robin Lehman




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