Patrick Wayne Germond: Informative, hilarious
October 4, 2008
To the editor:
Letters from Allen Hischke and Michelle Conroy were printed in the Daily Press on Oct. 1. Michelle’s was informative, and Allen’s was hilarious.
Amendment 47 grants freedom of choice to join a union or not. Allen implied union leaders still have to defend or support non-union workers (LOL). Unions don’t incur costs from representing nonmembers. Ask any local teacher. The vice president of the local teachers association, Michelle Conroy, set me straight on that. There is no federal law that mandates it. I spent most of Thursday talking to union leaders and checking facts. (Note to Allen, do that before a public rant.)
Each union can represent whom they wish; it depends on their contract. The teachers’ union here proves that. This is a confusing issue; a lot of the union leaders themselves were of conflicting views. The local teachers union is by far the best one I’ve seen. They are an all-volunteer organization.
Furthermore, some union entities do make purely political donations. Amendment 54 would shut that down. So do we want freedom to make political donations, but not freedom of membership?
One thing I have found is that federal law prohibits mandatory union membership (Taft-Hartley). However, the bill does not prohibit union leaders from mandating money from you. Non-union-members may get some benefits by osmosis, but no more than other workers in Colorado.
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Amendment 47 will make the union leaders more concerned and attentive to workers’ needs. Our local teachers’ union does fantastic with this policy. When they lobby, they do so for the needs of our children. It’s a thing of beauty. A system all the members support. Teachers are scared of 49.
If amendement 49 passes, public unions can’t have their representation fees (dues) directly withdrawn from payroll checks anymore. Anyone who relies on direct withdrawl to make sure a payment routinely get made knows 49 will cause havoc for them and union treasuries. The opposition to 49 implies this step costs us all money. It does not. If the teachers’ union falters, your child’s state representation falters.
Amendments 49 and 54 are union killers. However, if unions are going to move into the future, Amendments like 47 have to pass. Passing 49 and 54 mean workers lose freedoms forever. These amendments are set up as a perfect trap.
Vote for union freedoms, vote yes on 47, no on 49 and 54. Unions need the rest of us to pull their butts out of the fire. More union members and leaders need to step up and publicly participate in the discussion of these amendments.
These amendments come with a lot of myths. It’s not about who’s right or wrong on this issue, it’s about getting the facts right. What will these amendments do to your union specifically? What’s the difference in the your contract currently and what is mandated by federal law? Tell us.
Patrick Wayne Germond