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Friday, July 11, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 10/1/2003

Work not affected by affiliation

In response to the Sept. 27 editorial, the Teamsters Union represents workers in all walks of life - airline pilots, attorneys, doctors, firemen, policemen, and, yes, office employees in both the public and private sector. None of these employees' work is tainted by their union affiliation.

The warehouse employees at the Lucas County Board of Elections are currently represented by Teamsters Local 20. They maintain and have set up the voting machines for years. Occasionally these same employees also assist in the official count process, the same as the employees who now have petitioned for Teamster representation. There has never been an issue of wrongdoing in the performance of their jobs.

Members of the board of elections from both political parties have stated in the newspaper that the office employees becoming Teamster members would raise questions of improprieties. These are the people who have planted that perception in the public's heads. These are also the people who manage the board of elections.

What a surprise - an employer does not think a group of employees should be able to belong to a union. We hear this every day from employers whose employees are trying to organize. These employees came to the Teamsters because they had nowhere to air their grievances or their issues. Is it fair for supervisory employees to make statements such as “I hold your job in the palm of my hand,” or “you are an at-will employee and you can be fired at any time”?

In addition, some longtime temporary employees are no longer being used, but are being substituted by friends and relatives of supervisors. Employees have been told that all vacations are “frozen” for the next seven months, and there is currently a lawsuit pending against the Lucas County Board of Elections regarding an improper discharge.

Are not all of those improprieties?

A board member stated in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell last year that there has been great improvement in the morale at the board of elections, but apparently she hasn't talked to her employees. If she is right, why did 10 out of 11 employees sign authorization cards to be represented by Local 20? It is because they felt that their employer was not and is not listening to their grievance and that they need to be heard.

These employees are no different from any other employees. These employees work hard and long hours, especially during the election season, and they deserve to sit down with their employer and bargain over wages, benefits, and working conditions, and have a process to air their complaints.

We did not wish this to become such a public issue. We would have preferred to sit down with the employer and representatives of the employees to bargain over these issues and complaints and resolve them as most contracts are resolved. Unfortunately that did not happen.

To suggest that the sanctity of the ballot box would somehow be compromised by the Lucas County Board of Elections office employees becoming Teamsters is ridiculous. We see this as a greater opportunity for protecting the sanctity of the ballot box by those employees having a say over their working conditions, resulting in better attitudes, less tension in the workplace, and a happier atmosphere in the office.

Let me remind you that Teamsters Local 20 has a reputation for being a bipartisan union that endorses Republicans and Democrats, as the members we represent are both Republicans and Democrats.

BILL LICHTENWALD

President

Local 20, Teamsters

Soldiers are missed, but we can be proud

It is a disappointment that my son will not be home for the holidays, but am I proud of what he is doing over in Iraq? Yes, I am! My son is a member of the 323rd Military Police Company based out of Toledo and I am an officer of the unit's family support group. The families are dealing with this deployment as best they can. There are going to be some families that will deal with it better than others, but to put all the families and/or soldiers in the same category as complaining about not coming home for the holidays, or that they have been separated too long, is not fair.

My son has missed his daughter's first birthday and now it seems as though he will miss her third birthday. Is that a disappointment for him? I can assure you it is. But will he continue to do what he signed his name to do? Of course he will, and he will do it with pride and honor. I have been told that I am one of the most patriotic mothers around, and if that means that I support my son no matter what, then I am honored to be given that recognition. Do I want my son home? Yes, I do. Can I wait until the time is right? Yes, I can. I will be here with open arms, tears of joy, and a big smile whenever that time comes.

KIM SPENTHOFF

Eleanor Avenue

I wonder if the ACLU or any other public protesters of our government have the slightest idea that they may be playing into the hands of the terrorists. Don't they have the slightest notion that it gives them fuel to do just what they are doing? Maybe they are the reason our kids are in harm's way now.

By backing our government, or keeping their negative thoughts to themselves, especially if they haven't the faintest idea what they would have done differently, this conflict, maybe, could have been over a long time ago.

Surely I have concerns about this situation, and I don't like our kids over there any more than the protesters do. I have a son in the military and I'm standing behind our government as long as those soldiers are over there.

MARY LOU PERRIN

Swanton

After reading about the Carrietowne residents in Sylvania, I had to write concerning their problem. I grew up in their neighborhood, enjoying a childhood not shared by many: woods to build forts, play hide and seek, and enjoy nature.

A developer purchased a home, cut down the trees, and installed a street. Several homes were destroyed and condos were built. The new residents decided to convert the neighborhood with stockade fences, landscaping, and sprinkler systems. Apartments were built on top of a pond we once enjoyed.

Apparently, the construction should stop now. As they sit in their cubicle writing checks for lawn service and snow removal, they should think about how long a developer would consider tearing down a barn versus an office building.

ANDREY MROZ

Sylvania Township

“Fed holds rates steady, voices hope on economy.” That was the headline on an article in The Blade.

I want to tell you the article made me feel good, almost. As reported, the Fed said low rates are providing important ongoing support to economic activity and can be maintained for a considerable period.

You see, the rate has been maintained at a very low rate for a considerable period of time already. This has given my wife and me the opportunity to provide our important support to economic activity, too. We have given up $2,000-plus every year in interest income from our retirement funds since the Fed started lowering the rate. This loss of funds hurt as it was relied upon since I retired. It also hurts when I read about the compensation corporate officers are receiving, but I suppose they have to continue living in the style they have been accustomed to or they won't be able to do their share in spurring on the economy.

I have put pencil to paper and have figured out how I can adjust to the loss of my $2,000-plus a year in retirement income. I just won't live as long as I had planned.

RONALD EVERETT

Old Stone Court

Ours is a `free' country?

When was this ever a “free” country? Burning witches at the stake or hanging them! Slavery! Racial injustice! Capital punishment! Stealing “our” land from the Indians and so on.

So how about starting now to make up for lost time?

W.B. MORAN

Wendover Drive



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