News From Terre Haute, Indiana


June 6, 2013

READERS' FORUM: June 6, 2013

Unions need to educate public

In a recent Flashpoint essay about the NLRB, Richard Trumka mentioned leveling the playing field for the nonunion worker, but not how to do it? Could the unions bombard the nonunion public at election time with how the laws being proposed affect them? Maybe show what right-to-work does after in place for three to five years?

I know people who voted a straight Democratic ticket just because of right-to-work. USA TODAY stated that one in four American workers don’t get paid vacation time. I bet most are nonunion. Do they know how the GOP laws will affect their financial well-being? About 3,650,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in this country, people that have moved on and maybe don’t know of the current GOP attack on labor.

Some union history would help. I grew up in a union household but some people did not. They don’t know where the 40-hour work week, overtime pay and worker’s comp came from.

While the law says the nonunion worker has a right to organize, in an at-will state, I would say don’t do it because they will move the company or shut it down and reopen under a different name. I know you’re saying that this is where the NRLB would come in, but the GOP is holding up Obama’s appointees so they can get their people on board, and I feel you would lose the battle either by vote, or the current board’s decision would be invalidated by the Senate.

But at election time we can make a difference in voting numbers. The unions should be doing everything they can to show the nonunion worker that their vote does count and they do have some control over the laws that protect their jobs.

— Mike Travelstead

Terre Haute

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