Labor not beaten yet
I'm a Detroit Federation of Teachers Union member, and I read with interest Larry Gabriel's article, "Game-changers ahead" (March 16), and I must say, "We unions have just begun to fight." The assault on unions officially began when the late President Ronald Reagan, in one of his first acts as president, fired thousands of striking members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PACTCO) union — and it's been a war ever since.
Unions have been good for the American workers. They helped workers attain a middle- and, in some cases, upper-class style of living, as well as a comfortable retirement. The union established the 8-hour workday, the minimum wage, and helped establish safety standards for the work environment with OSHA, to mention a few achievements. Those members who make up the union are Democrats, Republicans, independents, Green Party, etc. — and those legislators who crafted this kind of legislation, to take away our collective bargaining rights, attacked all of us.
Also, as relates to the emergency financial managers (EFM) and the powers they'd get under the new legislation, "which would grant new wide-ranging powers to EFMs, including the ability to dissolve local governments and school districts, and to void contracts," this is tantamount to creating a czar. One of the promises this country was founded on was "one man, one vote." This is a violation of our constitutional rights. So, with the assault on the unions and public workers' right to collective bargaining, our battle cry should be, "Remember the Union." This is our "game-changer ahead." —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit