January 2010

Letters to the Editor
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A League of Their Own

I am the safety officer for the Fulton Little League and have been an Syracuse Local 97 member for 28 years. Although our Little League has been noted as one of the top in the nation by Little League headquarters, we had old wooden bleachers. Through fundraising and a grant we finally had enough money to get new bleachers—but had no one to assemble them before our upcoming opening day. Four of my union brothers stepped up and came out on a cold, rainy day and worked through the pouring rain and built all of them. I would love to see them recognized for their great effort.

A big thank-you goes out to Local 97 security officers Jess Lamb, Matt Stone, Jeff Bristol and Greg Steiner from Entergy's James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant for volunteering their time and tools to assemble all the new aluminum bleachers. It is kind, caring members like these that keep our communities and youth organizations growing strong!

Jodi Lynn Larkin
Local 97 member, Syracuse, N.Y.


Syracuse Local 97 members helped a fellow member in need.
Reaping IBEW's Benefits

Just want to say thanks for keeping us informed with the Electrical Worker newspaper. I am retired from Local Union 11, and a 49-year member. There were two letters in the December issue that got my attention. First, a very disturbing one from a member of Richmond, Va., Local 50 titled, "The Road to Socialism?" This member, after saying he does not support the present administration, goes on to say he can no longer support the IBEW.

It is sad that one of our members who has reaped the benefits that the IBEW has fought so hard for the past 100-plus years has such an attitude. There is not enough space to respond to such a negative attitude as this, so I will respond to the other more positive letter titled, "Don't Just Carry a Ticket," from a member of Kansas City, Mo., Local 124. He sounds like a proud IBEW member but warns that just carrying a union ticket is not enough to contribute to the betterment of our brotherhood. His ending statement says it all. "The sacrifices and hard labors of the generations that preceded you were vital to what you have now. ..." To help the labor movement from dying, we need to educate ourselves and strive to be the best and most productive in our fields.

Jack Pine
Local 11 retiree, Los Angeles


Universal Health Care Works

I just received my latest edition of the Electrical Worker, something I look forward to each month, and read the letter from Brother Fenton Wyatt Jr. of Local 50, Richmond, Va., with sadness. I always read the letters to the editor with great interest but don't usually feel the need to reply. In this case I feel I must.

As a retired IBEW member and a Canadian, I would like to take this opportunity to attempt to explain some of the issues Brother Wyatt raises. Contrary to what has been said in the U.S.A., most Canadians are satisfied with their health care system, and it is working. I cannot speak to the system in Britain because I don't live there.

One defining feature of our system is its universality. It does not matter who you are, or your circumstance, or where you live, your medical care is assured, and it is without cost to the individual, except through taxes. That means if you are injured, or ill, your health care is covered no matter if you are unemployed or have pre-existing conditions. Even with these features the annual cost of healthcare is less per capita in Canada than in the U.S.A., and let me assure you that the care is of a high quality.

As a retired person I have my share of medical misfortune, but one thing I don't have to worry about is if I can afford it. My provincial health care plan looks after me and my family in an efficient and timely manner. No system is perfect, but the Canadian system provides peace of mind for anyone with health care concerns.

Evert van Maanen
Local 120 retiree, London, Ontario