Union not only culprit in auto industry’s demise

To the editor:

In response to Gerald Laetz’s Sunday letter stating the United Auto Workers destroyed the U.S. auto industry: The problem goes much further than the UAW and involves far more people.

I grew up in the Detroit area from the ’50s through the ’80s, where three generations of my family worked for the same auto company in the same plant. All three retired from the plant, each having almost 40 years seniority.

As Mr. Laetz said, and I admit, some of the quality control was questionable. My brother was a foreman, and I was told how the union would protect people who shouldn’t really have been protected.

My father, however, was in one of the union “flying squads” in the 1940s. The flying squads were organized by the UAW to protect the workers who might have had a little too much interest in the union, and risked injury from the company goons who wanted to change their minds about union membership.

There also were the company “star men,” who had virtually unlimited power over the workers and could fire people on sight because of their appearance or mood that day, or because they were bribed by someone to get their friend/relative a job.

There were also very hazardous working conditions where many people were maimed or killed building the cars, and had no insurance.

So my question: Do you really think the companies would have willingly given the workers the benefits and safety they had enjoyed had they remained non-union? From what my father and my friend’s fathers told me, it would never have happened.

Greed and arrogance, both corporate and union, contributed to the downfall of the auto industry. The union needed to give less protection to the undeserving and more protection to the honest worker. The auto executives needed to think less about their five- to 10-year terms as executives (with their golden parachutes and outrageous bonuses) and think of more long-range goals to not only create a better car, but to keep the industry in the country.

This was not done, and now we are paying the price of losing our industries, our middle-class work force, and possibly heading toward becoming a second-rate, socialized nation.

Far different than the industrial America I lived in as a child and as a young man, sadly.

Neil Dickinson Sr.


Great bill

To the editor:

In response to Bill Thompson’s Saturday letter, I must say he is woefully out of touch. He states that “only those huddled behind closed doors with Harry Reid have any idea what the (health care) bill contains.” I would like to edify Mr. Thompson by divulging the fact that this supposedly secret document can be read at: http://www. democrats.senate.gov.

All 2,000-plus pages are here, in its legal, quadruple-spaced format. In standard form, it’s no longer than Sarah Palin’s book. We all become better citizens when we research the facts ourselves, and not blindly listen to those bent on destroying the president and this landmark legislation.

Sen. Tom Coburn’s tactic of reading the whole bill on the Senate floor is blatantly obstructive. It serves no one but the health insurance companies and their executives who stand to lose outrageous, ill-gotten profits when the bill passes and is signed by our president. The ordinary citizens of the United States will benefit greatly by the passage of this bill, which is deficit neutral and will not raise taxes on those earning less than $250,000 a year.

Dan Wesley


Warming up?

To the editor:

Before Copernicus, everyone knew the sun revolved around the Earth. Before Columbus, everyone knew the Earth was flat. Now the “booboisie” are sure man is heating the Earth with carbon dioxide emissions.

Geological evidence shows that there have been “warm ages” alternating with “ice ages” for millions of years. This calls man-made global warming into question, because man was not a significant factor in CO2 production until 50 years ago. Warm ages have an average time span of 15,000 years, which is just about the length of the present warm period.

But why focus on carbon dioxide? Water vapor is 100 times more important as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but it is transient and difficult to measure. It stands to reason that if carbon dioxide represents 1 percent of the greenhouse gases, it could double without materially affecting the overall greenhouse effect.

I recently heard a TV anchor mention “a gas more toxic than carbon dioxide.” Toxic? Carbon dioxide, through photosynthesis, is essential to life on Earth. In fact, there is evidence that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been much higher than it is today during periods of prolific plant and animal growth. All the oil and coal that is now or ever was underground can be considered as sequestered carbon dioxide.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political arm of the United Nations. The IPCC farms out its research and selects the results that suit its agenda. Using the IPCC’s carefully selected numbers, it turns out the globe has been getting warmer … at night, in the winter, in the colder regions of the world. I suppose that means that Alaskan winters will be only -40 degrees rather than -41 degrees in 100 years.

The anti-carbon Luddites who want to switch our economy to wind, solar and geothermal are either asinine, evil or both. Power costs will skyrocket. For what? To reduce life-essential carbon dioxide? Notice that the anti-carbon politicians are also anti-nuclear — and will be against any low-cost power source.

Robert W. Ritchey


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