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Letter to the editor

‘No’ on new labor secretary

To the editor: President Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia to be the next secretary of labor. While Mr. Scalia comes from a very prestigious legal family and is a prominent lawyer on his own, he is not qualified to represent labor in this country. I strongly urge our two senators to vote against his confirmation.

Alaska has a thriving middle class due in part to a strong union presence in our great state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2018, 18.5% of wage and salary workers were represented by unions. This number is almost twice the national average of union representation. Only New York and Hawaii have higher rates of union representation.

In terms of income inequality, Alaska ranks last among the 50 states. This is a case where last is good. Income inequality examines the difference or ratio between the top 1% earners to the rest of the 99% earners. The higher the ratio, the bigger the disparity in family earnings. Alaska ranks 50th at 1:12.7 (2015, Economic Policy Institute). The national average is 1:26.3, with the highest being New York at 1:44.4. This is due in part to Alaska’s high union representation.

Mr. Scalia has dedicated his professional career to representing large corporations, such as Walmart, in vigorously fighting employee unionization. The stated mission of the Department of Labor, as taken from its own website, is “to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

Mr. Scalia’s career has been to promote the welfare of large corporations. Again, I urge our two senators to vote “no” on Eugene Scalia’s nomination to become the next secretary of labor.

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