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Discrimination

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Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2009 4:00 am | Updated: 12:50 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

Oct. 30, 2009

To the editor:

After a recent article was published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (“Special-interest group runs anti-Hopkins ads,” Oct. 29) in which I was quoted, I received numerous blog and verbal comments about how I was against unions.

Obviously, none of these people really know what I stand for. I know many people who choose to have unions represent them and many people who choose not to have unions represent them. Both of these groups have decent, hard-working individuals who want the same thing: a good job with good pay. Some want benefits; others want to take that in pay. At the end of the day, both groups just want to provide for their families.

I came to Fairbanks with everything I had in the back of a Chevette looking for exactly that. I worked both as a union (IBEW) member and as a non-union worker, so I really do know a bit about both sides. I still have money in the IBEW pension plan, but I never vested so I won’t receive the benefit from that. That was my choice, and that is what this is really about, choice.

I’d like to see it that simple, but politics have gotten in the way and our elected officials are trying to tell us if we don’t join a union then we can’t work on public jobs. All our tax dollars go into paying for these projects, but non-unions are discriminated against, not deemed worthy enough to compete for working on a project they helped pay for.

I owe a lot to Fairbanks and the construction industry that’s blessed me with opportunity I doubt I could have received any place else. I’m in a position to start repaying this debt by educating our community about discrimination against your neighbors by local and state elected officials.

My detractors want to make this about me bashing the unions. I have nothing against unions or the hardworking people who choose to become members. I just want to make people aware that politicians are discriminating against 70 percent of the construction workers in the state of Alaska. This is not Samson vs. unions, it’s Samson against discrimination by our political leaders.

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