The Electrical Worker online
October 2012

Letters to the Editor
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More Scott Walkers?

After all the articles and editorial negative comments about conservatives, tea party activists and the Republican Party, now the IBEW officers want us to come together. You think this could be because of the wake-up call from Wisconsin? Maybe the IBEW faithful such as myself have shown that all members do not support public sector unions? Maybe the taxpayers don't support outside union hooligans entering a state and trying to impose their union philosophies? What happened in Wisconsin should send a clear signal that states should be able to make their own decisions (10th Amendment anyone), and that there are far too few Scott Walkers? 

An editorial from the July edition of the Electrical Worker said that Republicans make up from 12 to 40 percent of IBEW and that those Republicans should get more involved with union support. I can't speak for all Republicans (I'm a conservative); however, I can tell you that my voice has always been silenced because I don't believe in the direction that the IBEW officers have been steering the membership. I can also tell you that the political money from the dues of those 12 to 40 percent has not been going to the candidate of their choice. If the officers of the IBEW want to have support of the entire membership maybe they could incorporate some other more inclusive philosophies? Unions have lost support and membership because they have isolated themselves behind socialist leaders!

Steve Nelson, Local 57 member
Salt Lake City, Utah

Putting Politics Aside

I have been disheartened lately by some of the rhetoric regarding this upcoming election. Some brothers told me that, in the past, they had voted for "W" Bush based on issues relevant to morality, religious beliefs, etc., and I can only say "Follow your heart, Brother." (My personal allegiance and loyalties are to God, my family, my country and then the IBEW.)

Today, we are awaiting the outcome of a presidential election, the results of which will have the greatest impact on union labor since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. President Obama and his political antics have disappointed me on several issues, and I make no apologies for him or the Democratic Party. However, Mitt Romney and his crew may very likely put us back in the Stone Age. In a speech to the Associated Builders & Contractors at the Biltmore Hotel, (reported by CSPAN's "Road to the White House") he stated the following agenda. On "Day One" to "curb" the practice of giving "union bosses an unfair advantage" in contracting by:

  • Ending government favoritism toward unions contracting on government projects
  • Ending project labor agreements
  • Fighting to repeal Davis-Bacon
  • Fighting for right-to-work laws

Brothers, put politics aside and think about our right to work, not for the right to work for less! We have fought for years for the right to take a break, eat lunch with some dignity, earn a living wage, protect the rights of all working people on our projects, and be able, through training and intent, to produce an honest days' work for a days' pay in a journeyman-like manner, and manage to get safely home before dark. Please, look toward what is at stake and what is important to us. (Don't worry about who pays the most taxes — if you're not working, you won't have to pay any income tax at all.)

This is not about greed or advantage or politics. It is about protecting the rights and conditions of all members of organized labor, things we have fought for 100 years to acquire and keep for ourselves, our families and our nation.

W.L. "Sam" Smothers, Local 702 member
West Frankfort, Ill.

It is time in this country for workers to acknowledge that something needs to be done in the political arena. We need to elect politicians who will support our right to a decent wage and benefits that will allow us to retire with some dignity. It doesn't matter whether you work under a collective bargaining agreement or not. We need to come together as a country of working men and women who deserve these conditions. We need to stop listening to those politicians who want us to be a separated work force. We are and will continue to be the backbone of this country; the rich will not and cannot do what we do. They want it done but at a wage that we cannot raise a family under.

Wake up, American workers.

Ron Schock, Local 53 retiree
Kansas City, Mo.