To the editor:
After much debate, discussion and a little soul searching I am now removing my support for amendment 47. I have tried arguing it as a freedoms amendment, not a freeloaders amendment. After being unable to do that to my satisfaction, I cannot support this amendment any longer.
Some unions may be forced to incur great expense from people in the workplace opting out of membership. Some unions will get caught defenseless against this amendment. Their union contracts undoubtedly will leave their members stuck, being forced to pay for arbitration and other representation. Arbitration for write-ups and firings runs $3,000 to 4,000 per case, and most, if not all, employees, union and non-union, want representation when fired.
Amendment 47 and the people who back it have problems with this argument. The amendment is worded to give people a choice on whether or not to join a union if they work at a place that has one. However, it does not say anything about forcing members to pay for nonmembers' benefits one way or the other. But, this is implied or believed to be the real issue by all who read it. What else could it be about, since federal law already prohibits forced membership? This amendment is not clear or decisive. I will not risk my friends and neighbors' future on maybes or innuendo.
My biggest enlightenment on this issue comes from outside our community. The U.S. economy may be going south for the foreseeable future. Union leaders do not need any added distractions. They soon may be one of the only organizations standing up for common workers and a decent wage. When times get hard, that's when companies become avaricious, which means greedy and tight with coin. Unions may well be the only brace against this greed for the common man.
To address those who are outright anti-union, union leaders have given most people and their own members a reason to curse them at times. Let's face it, standing next to a candidate posing for the camera hasn't been a union leader's best P.R. move. Half the people seeing that are going to get mad. Local unions, I do not believe have done this. I would advise us all to look to the future and next the challenge. Looking at the past and making decisions based solely on that perception might be like waving a loaded firearm at one's feet.
In closing, I would like to thank all the people who participated in this discussion, sorting this issue out. I also would like to apologize to anyone who may have gotten upset in the process. It got a little heated at times. Discussion is what is needed to work through important issues; it can be a great benefit to us all. Most are now unanimous on this issue. Our success is a lot more than our own state and federal government can claim on their best days.
Please vote no on 47, 49, 54.
Patrick Wayne Germond