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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2009

Workers need free choice act

Judging by his Feb. 14 column, which mischaracterized the Employee Free Choice Act, Roger R. Geiger could benefit from the perspective of a nonmanagement worker who has actually been through a union-organizing campaign.

When coworkers at my long-term care facility began meeting to unionize about six years ago, our boss reacted by putting every possible obstacle in our way.

Despite Mr. Geiger's claim, most union elections bear no resemblance to political elections in a free society. How often in political elections, after all, does one candidate directly control your pay, work schedule, and employment status?

Workers' free-speech rights are regularly squelched during mandatory, one-sided presentations designed to mislead and frighten. It is patronizing for Mr. Geiger to describe these manipulative, captive-audience sessions as a "courtesy." Employers also practice various forms of economic coercion taken straight out of their union-busting consultants' playbook, including favoritism and empty threats of workplace closure. If those tactics fail, current labor law encourages anti-union employers to use drawn-out appeals so they can delay recognizing the will of their workers indefinitely.

Contrary to Mr. Geiger's claim, the Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish elections or "secret ballots." Under the proposed legislation, workers get to choose which way we want to unionize: either by elections or majority sign-up. Current law unfairly lets employers make that choice, instead of the workers who are directly involved.

Studies show the experiences that I've had are typical of what workers undergo during organizing attempts. We need to return fairness to the workplace and true choice to America's workers, which is why Congress should pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

Karen Kirkwood

Wall Street

What a creative and valiant life lesson the teachers and children at Perrysburg Junior High experienced last month. The pictures featuring Zac Zies, who has Friedreich's ataxia, a degenerative neuro-muscular disorder which affects one in 50,000 people in the U.S., certainly caught my attention.

Certainly, one of our freedoms is a right for all to be educated. Zac and his teachers daily model living life voraciously and courageously. May we all respond to learning more and caring more for one another.

Dianne R. Powers

Oregon

A Feb. 8 letter writer said that President Obama should read the Constitution because the President declares it isn't the size of government, but whether it works that matters. The writer could find nothing in the Constitution about doing what works.

Should we continue to do what doesn't work then?

I would also point out that, despite the mentioning of the rights of people, the letter writer will not, as he claims, find anything in the Constitution that details the size that government is allowed to be. The size of government is not mentioned in the Constitution.

It seems to me Mr. Obama knows the Constitution better than the letter writer does.

Robert Orlet

Felt Street

Instead of every politician's personal wish list, it would not be difficult to structure a stimulus program that would put people back to work and construct improvements that would last 50 years or so.

It would include national programs to rebuild roads and bridges; modernize the electrical transmission grid; modernize and rebuild public schools; lengthen and modernize the public rail system; rebuild and construct public sewer and wastewater systems, and rebuild public drinking-water systems.

In other words, rebuild and modernize the nation's infrastructure. Each state would be allotted money and be required to use American workers and architects. The money would be tightly monitored and contracts and executive compensation would be strictly regulated.

This plan would ensure that the billions spent today - which will be paid off by our children and grandchildren - will allow lasting benefits for this enormous outlay of public money.

Eric Horvath

Martin

In regard to the Feb. 5 letter that castigated columnist Marilou Johanek for bashing former President George Bush: It is Ms. Johanek's job to critique a public figure she doesn't agree with. How many movie reviews would we read if every movie critic raved every movie?

In Mr. Bush's case, she has been saying what most Americans have been thinking for a long time.

I would hope that in the future if President Obama or any president does something she doesn't agree with, she will speak up, and not keep her comments to herself out of respect for the president, as Dennis Miller would! I also strong disagree that Dennis Miller is a comedian.

John Manning

Holland

I am quite fed up with some members of city council claiming they didn't know about matters related to the city. They are always complaining that the administration didn't tell them. The most recent is the $8 million shortfall for 2008. Where are Joe McNamara and Frank Szollosi residing these days - in a locked cellar? The Blade reported some time ago about the possible $8 million deficit for 2008. But I guess if you don't attend the meeting you are supposed to attend and you don't pay attention to details, then you wouldn't know what goes on in the city you were elected to govern.

All I can do is be thankful that several councilmen are up for re-election. It is time for Toledo to show that we want someone working for the citizens - and not to get in front of a camera for their own agenda.

Darlene Chaplin

Nela Parkway

I've been reading the letters from Republicans who have no support for our President and even go as far as hoping he fails in running this country. I am amazed, since the state of this country is largely due to the past president and his failed policies.

I was adamantly against President Bush from the start but I never wanted him or our country to fail. He did that all on his own. I do not recall anyone wanting our country in ruin just to see him fail. The calls were to remove him before he did more damage.

How can anyone consider themselves an American if they want failure just to further their party's agenda? I hope we all (no matter who holds the reins) want only the best for us and our country as a whole.

Fighting and bickering will not get us out of this mess, and if our new President does not deliver, he will meet the same fate as President Bush.

Steve Price

Penelope Drive

In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was seized and our embassy personnel held captive for 444 days. Before any diplomatic discussions with Iran can begin, the Iranian government must first apologize and offer compensation. We cannot be fooled into thinking the situation with Iran is our fault.

Dennis Bogusky

Temperance



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