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Bring back real freedom to choose
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 1/27/2009 12:00 AM

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I was taught that it was a basic right in a free society to belong to a union. After President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, unions became a dirty word. The Bush administration was very hostile to unions with his pick of the labor secretary and that of National Labor Relations Board. It seems people forgot that many benefits they were enjoying were brought about by unions and liberal politicians, such as pensions, health care, unemployment compensation and the 40-hour workweek. Unions helped establish the middle class in this country, which became the consumers and made our economy grow.

Unions have never made up more than 30 percent of the working class, so to blame them for our economic problems is a stretch. First they came up with Right To Work, for less, states that shifted many jobs to the South, and when that didn't work as planned, they went for free trade.

What we need is equal trade, not free trade, because free trade is all about substandard wages, with no controls on materials, and safety. Look at the stuff we are getting from China: toys with lead paint and medicine and food with cancer producing additives. We are also sending out our technology and our wealth. I often wonder who will buy these products when they destroy the middle class, and they will destroy it if we don't start making our own products again. Unions are only as good as their members. I believe teachers try to teach, but the work ethic and discipline in our young is not what it should be and money will not cure that. This country was always self reliant, built by hard work and a living wage.

Richard Markiewicz