This is a retro letter to the editor at the then St. Petersburg Times from 2009 in defense of unions and in Green Opposition to the bank bailouts:
Letter to the Editor 2009 of the St. Pete Times,
by Jennifer Sullivan
Union bashing is quite a sad response to this financial crises we are in. Unions brought us weekends, holiday pay, 40 hour work weeks, sick pay, DECENT pay and other benefits. USUALLY someone who union bashes is misinformed by corporate TV or listens to Rush Limbaugh (who makes WAY over a union wage). Unions serve a great purpose and people fought hard for them to exist and now find themselves still having to fight. Quite frankly, if I HAD to be in a hospital at all. I’d prefer to be in a hospital that had a nurses union because then I’d feel that the nurse caring for me was getting decent treatment and not overly tired from long shifts and ticked off because of some pay issues. Wouldn’t you agree?
The multi-national corporations REALLY hate unions. That is why they outsource those “great jobs” that they, supposedly, offer to get their tax breaks from our various levels of government (local on up to national). That is why they choose to make things in sweat shops instead of nice mills right here. It’s worth the long distance shipping to them since they are US taxpayer subsidized!
The union workers in the auto foundries make what? $45.00 an hour? That’s less than $100K a year. Banking executives often make $250K a year or more. $250K works out to $120.00 an hour. I just read a Reuters article that, due to the fact bonuses will be difficult to get this year the Wall Street worker who was making $250K will see his pay go up to $600K (that’s $300.00 an hour). I don’t question that banking is work. I question that guys like Glenn what’s his name and Rush Limbaugh harp on auto workers as if THEY are not putting in an honest days work.
I DID work in factories and foundries and it WAS hard work. It was dirty, depressing, hot (or cold), smelly, monotonous and sometimes dangerous. I once was shown a “snag grinding” job by a family friend who would have been my new boss at this magnet factory. I never even showed up the next day for THAT job. I might have lost a finger doing it!
Nevertheless, when I was a kid, I DID go to factories for an easy and quick hire that paid well. Lot’s of times I was smart enough to get moved up to the better jobs. I’d get paid more and it was usually easier. I’d make some money then quit and travel. There were factories ALL OVER the place so I could pick and choose. Hardly ANY exist now in the USA. I’ve been blessed to be able to get decent jobs in my life. Not every one is so lucky. I am thankful for the experience because it opened my eyes to many things.
Before the elections, then president Bush and Hank Paulsen called for the Wall Street bail outs. John McCain refused to debate Barack Obama at that time and said they should both be in Washington to do what they could about this crisis. So they both went. Congress bailed out Wall Street first.
We, Greens, were the first to protest that and ALL of the bail outs.
However, I would not fault the workers or the unions because the executives made bad decisions. PLEASE see the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car”, if you haven’t yet, and see why I have no pity for GM. Also note that Ford is coming out of this fairly ok with better management. But GM’s problem was not so much their poor emphasis on products, it was their BANKING division GMAC that got them in the worst trouble. The mortgage and Wall Street problems can’t be totally blamed on the little guy in a loan over his head that had an adjustable rate that he did not understand and one that the loan officer did not explain better. The problems came from derivatives and from other crazy financial “products” that were not backed up by hard currency.
If you want to see what I think about most issues go to www.gp.org and order one of our platforms. They are an easy read and very astute. These policies are much more fair and practical than most policies coming out of DC.
9450 Lorendale Cr.
Spring Hill, Fl.