Letters to the editor: Jan. 22

January 22, 2013 

Right-to-work laws don't work for working class

A Jan. 10 letter in Readers' Views extolled the virtues of right-to-work laws for states.

To elaborate, right to work (RTW) has nothing to do with a worker's right to secure gainful employment. Rather, RTW laws revolve around the prohibition of negotiated union security clauses — contract provisions that regulate the collection of union dues. Dues keep union offices open to represent members' rights, negotiate contracts and pay associated legal costs.

The letter failed to mention that states passing RTW have not seen positive change; in fact, these states have seen worsening standards of living for both union and nonunion workers.

Contrary to the letter writer's belief, unions will always be needed; unions are formed by the workers and together they negotiate a secure and decent wage for all members. Not only do union workers earn up to 40 percent more than nonunion workers, they have the strongest industry safety records, as well as due process against workplace injustices. Nonunion workers have no protection against "at will" discharge — discharge in which workers can be terminated for any reason, or no reason at all.

As a union president, I identify as a Kentuckian, raised on a dairy farm and as a God-fearing Christian. Right-to-work proponents perpetuate the uneducated view of a union "thug" — a term both outdated and false. This misconception, much like right to work itself, harms the backbone of this nation — the working class.

Michael Philbeck

Teamsters Local 651 president

Lexington


Paying dues is fair

Right to work means the right to work in a unionized business that has a negotiated contract without paying dues to the union.

I called the Chamber of Commerce and asked to join without paying dues. They said that's not fair to other dues-paying members of the chamber and denied me.

Of the 11 states with the highest poverty rates, nine of them are so-called right-to-work states: Mississippi (20.1 percent), Louisiana (18.3), Alabama (16.7), Texas (16.2), Arkansas (15.9), Oklahoma (15), Arizona (15.2), and Tennessee and South Carolina (tied for 10th at 15 percent).

Right to work means the freedom to freeload.

Support a stronger Kentucky and not becoming a right-to-work-for-less state.

Rusty Knight

Georgetown


RTW states are low wage states

The Congressional Research Service reported last year that in right-to-work states the average worker earns $7,030 less per year than those in other states.

Ninety percent of work opportunities in Kentucky are in the nonunion sector. Any worker who is not in favor of being affiliated with a union has ample opportunities.

As far as holding wages back, as a Jan. 10 letter writer claimed, I've never seen a grievance filed because someone was paid too much. If your employer wants to pay more there are ways for them to do so such as wages, bonus, supervisor pay, overtime.

RTW proponents believe that without union interference more corporations would be favorable to move to Kentucky if our citizens were reduced to work for very low wages and no benefits.

The letter writer mentioned union thugs. I'm sure that no one reading this has ever been harassed by a so-called thug. They've never seen anything disrupted or sabotaged by any affiliate of any union. Simply lies told by those who can't make a good argument without them.

The Chamber of Commerce is behind this right-to-work agenda. If you think owners and managers of companies and corporations are out here fighting to get you better pay, benefits and working conditions, you had better think again.

Don't fall for this right to right-to-work-for-less malarkey.

Mark Isaacs

Nicholasville


Hell breaks loose Now let me get this straight. Mike Huckabee makes a statement regarding the Newtown tragedy, observing that "all hell breaks loose" when we remove God from our society. It is not God, but Roger Guffey throwing a "hissy fit" ("Christian 'can't stands no more,'" Jan. 12 commentary), railing against those "fringe element" fearmongering Christians with "misguided angry hatred." Guffey twists Huckabee's words to make them sound like a judgment from a childish God rather than a natural result of displacing God.

Like Guffey, I find some of the statements made in the name of Christianity appalling. I do not wish death upon the president, nor do I hope for a hurricane to wipe out Disney World. However, Christianity by its nature encompasses some extreme beliefs and moral absolutes.

Guffey counts himself among the "true" devout Christians, quoting Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, and let us reason together," urging other true Christians to reclaim their faith.

Fortunately, neither Guffey nor I get to decide which Christians are true.

A reasonable person can perceive that increasing societal intolerance of God correlates with a crumbling moral code, without which violence and chaos become unavoidable. Is it unreasonable to believe that a just God could allow an inattentive society to suffer the consequences of that inattention? It is also reasonable to consider that same loving God weeping with us over the loss of innocent life.

Hell has broken loose and it is time for all Christians to stand together and pray against evil rather than prey upon one another.

Monica Houtz

Winchester


Christianity here to stay

Our country and principles were formed and based upon Christianity, but so many these days tend to want to remove God from everything. So, now some groups are asking the Bible be removed from the inauguration of the president of the United States. You know, if the views of these people do not allow them to be comfortable with the ways America has been for years, then pick a country that you feel comfortable with, that feels like you do, and go there.

We are a Christian society. We don't care if you don't feel the same way, we will not try to suppress your views, or isolate you for not agreeing, and we for sure will not try to kill you because of that. It is your right to believe how you want, your right to worship the way you want, but I personally don't think it is your right to criticize others for their views.

My mother taught us that if we don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.

There are many countries around the world that were founded on all different religious views. I am sure that there is one that meets your beliefs. Unfortunately, America was and is a Christian-based society, so maybe it is time for those who don't like it to go.

George Greenup

Lexington


Get real on budget

In the current edition of First Things, Michael Novak observes that, "at present, there is no realistic check on the appetite of progressive government (even on 'compassionate conservative' government) for greater tax revenues and the racking up of greater debts. Worse, these debts are without remorse laid upon the backs of future generations." Novak then reminds us of Abraham Lincoln's suggestion in his second inaugural address that the carnage of the civil war might be the deity's just recompense for 250 years of slavery.

New York Times columnist David Brooks (Lexington Herald-Leader, Jan. 13), quotes the Government Accountability Office to confirm this dismal picture of our national government's reckless fiscal behavior. "If we act on entitlements today we will still have to cut federal spending by 32 percent and raise taxes by 46 percent over the next 75 years to meet current obligations."

We mourn the loss of civility in public discourse, but given the reality of our nation's spendthrift habits, is it any wonder that fiscal conservatives conclude that fiscal progressives are absolutely deranged?

J. Robert (Bob) Ross

Lexington


Are we so blind?

Having read all the comments on gun control in Jan. 8's Readers' Views and in how "gun buybacks work," I am amazed at how dumb people seem to be.

Yes, many law-abiding people may hand over their weapons. But doesn't anyone see that the criminal will still have his gun. He will not hand it over. That leaves good, law-abiding citizens defenseless against these people.

For heaven's sake, are we so blind? The police can't be everywhere. Who will defend your family when some gun-toting marauder comes into your home?

Sorry, but we need to just stop the sale of military-style weapons. You're not much of a hunter if you need one of them. I thought hunting was a sport, not a killing spree.

Vivienne Skidmore

Lexington


Believe in clean dirt

Heralding the introduction of clean dirt.

Unlike normal dirt, clean dirt is clean. While it is not yet available, talking about it will cause everyone to accept it as if it was here already.

The process that creates clean dirt is being researched and worked on by top men and top university laboratories. It will consist of a method of cleaning dirt until it is clean enough to eat. It is inoffensive when seen on food, children, cars, dishes, hair, toilet seats, medicines, almost anywhere. Clean dirt does not require things to be washed as often.

The Environmental Protection Agency under the current administration has been waging a war on dirt. However, it has been projected that dirt will be with us far into the future.

Therefore, we should support, consume and insist on clean dirt. Soon we will all be eating clean dirt.

Richard Mandell

Corbin


Housing freeloaders

To the citizens of Lexington: There is a move afoot to make some people here pay for a large number of houses for others who believe they should be gifted with a house.

Why should we pay for houses for others when it is so hard for us to keep our own houses?

Lexington Fayette Urban County Government has looked into putting a tax on insurance policy premiums to create a trust fund to build or renovate affordable housing. If not this it will be a tax on something else. LFUCG already has a tax on these premiums for something else. Not all citizens will be taxed because not all citizens buy insurance. This means some will be paying what the freeloaders should be paying.

What LFUCG will not tell you is an insurance company can charge the policyholder any amount it wishes to collect the tax for LFUCG. People have already started lining up to speak in front of the Urban County Council, commissions and committees telling them they must do this because the people want these houses. They believe others should furnish them a house. They should go see the federal Housing and Urban Development agency to get a house.

The net worth (not gross) of the average household is at a 43-year low right now.

How much more is LFUCG going to suck out of its citizens because some special group wants special attention? The more they suck the more people will come to live here to get our dollars.

Stan Houston

Lexington

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