To the editor: I would like to reply to Marine Lt. Col. Emily Jackson-Hall’s Community Perspective of Aug. 27 in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner entitled “Let’s follow Wisconsin’s example on unions.” I hate seeing the freedom of employers to screw down their employees’ wages and benefits cloaked in fake patriotic flag-waving.
Does the lieutenant colonel really think that “let freedom ring” means forcing public employees to take cheaper, lower-quality health care and pay more for it?
Does she really think that “the relationship between managers and unions is much easier” without a union? Easier for management, perhaps, who can just say, “Take it or leave it,” but does that really “let freedom ring” for the employees?
I am a proud retired member of Laborers Union Local 942 in Fairbanks. When I worked, I was paid a decent living wage. Now I have a defined-benefit union pension that I will receive for the rest of my life and some of the finest health care in the country. This is what every working person in the United States deserves, and this is what unions fight for.
Being a union member gives me more freedom, not less. I hear non-union workers say, “I hate my job, I hate my boss, but I can’t quit because my family needs the health care and I can’t afford to lose my pension.”
As a member of Laborers Local 942, I have more freedom because if I quit or lose my job, I don’t lose my health care and my pension. Those are through my union, not through my employer. As long as I work a certain number of hours per year with any other union employer, I am covered. My coverage and my pension are portable from one union employer to another.
The lieutenant colonel and I have legitimate political disagreements, but that doesn’t make either of us more or less patriotic. She shouldn’t cheapen her service and our country by wrapping political opinions in the flag.