From a union member
I am a very proud, Local 3181 CWA Union member, as well as one of the St. Lucie County School's sites union stewards. In my 10 years of experience in the public school system's site maintenance department, I am fully persuaded that without unions in the present St. Lucie County public school system, middle-class families are worse off than they should be.
I'm convinced totally that bargaining rights and union membership makes a difference in this county! But never has the connection between the loss of bargaining rights done in good faith and the decline of the middle-class in the United States been so clear.
The percentage of workers in unions has steadily declined largely because the legal and political environment prevents private-sector workers from freely exercising their right to join or not join a union.
Membership in private-sector unions stands at approximately less than 7 percent today, from around 30 percent in the late 1960s.
The public sector is under significant threat from conservative political opposition. But without the counter-balance of workers united together in unions, the middle-class withers because the economy and politics tend to be dominated by the rich and powerful, which in turn, leads to an even greater flow of money in our economy to the top of the income scale.
The percentage of unionized workers tracks very closely with the share of the nation's income going to the middle-class than those in the three-fifths of income earners, The share of pre-tax income earned by the richest 1 percent of Americans more than doubled between 1974 and 2007. And for the richest of the rich, the top 0.1 percent, the gains have been even more astronomical, quadrupling over this same period to 12.3 percent of all income.
In contrast, incomes for more Americans have been nearly flat and median income after accounting for inflation actually fell for working-age households between 2001 and 2007.
In conclusion, according to some new census data, a 10 percentage point increase in the unionization rate would boost the average annual income for middle-class households, unionized or not, by $1,501 per year. You can read the full report at www.americanprogress.org, search "unions make the middle-class" for the latest updates.
Thank you very much, in advance, for printing this letter.
Editor's note: The Center for American Progress is an independent, nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. It was founded in 2003 by John Podesta, who was White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton.
Farmer's market woes
I think many of us enjoy the Saturday farmers' market, however, may I suggest that the on-duty policemen ticket cars that are illegally parked at the parking lot entrances?
They present a danger to pedestrians and block traffic. It will only take one serious accident to put a damper on an otherwise great experience.
War on snakes
Florida's war on snakes can be directly attributed to lawmakers who capitulate to the exotic animal industry by refusing to ban wild animals being kept as pets.
When you make it as simple as pulling out a credit card to buy snakes, alligators, iguanas and other exotic species, the cruel cycle begins.
Animals quickly go from "must have" to "must get rid of." Some end up in already-overburdened shelters; others are simply dumped, destined to become targets in state-sponsored killing sprees, appallingly called "contests."
As a licensed wildlife rehabber with 15 years of experience in treating society's cast-offs, I can attest that people will not change, so the laws must. Legislators must slam the door shut on the exotic pet industry once and for all.
I read a lady who wrote that she was still in deep prayer for the pitbull that was hung and sat on fire, and the kittens that were put in a freezer. She is so sad and disturbed over the evil in our society and she prays for justice for these animals.
Well, I bet the people who t did this will get life in jail, shot or the gas chamber, and the court hearing will be swift and quick, while the people who rape and kill children will sit in jail for years before they get a court date, and when they do, they'll get maybe 10 or 15 years. So why don't you start praying for these abused kids? Aren't they worth more than these dogs and cats? No wonder there's so many kids running the streets and getting in trouble. Dogs and cats are taking their place in the love and attention department.
A problem with electric company
My mother has a problem every month with our electric company. For 12 months she has had to call them about her payment date of her bill.
She has asked every month to please change the due date to the third, when she gets her Social Security check and pays all of her bills. She has got 12 reasons why they can't change her date and doubled her deposit because she is always late paying her bill because they want her to pay her bills on their date or else it will be late.
She had a stroke four years ago and breaks down in tears every month after talking to some phone clerk (door knob) about this situation when they say they cannot do anything. It's amazing that a computer now runs our world and we cannot tell it what to do.
Wool over your eyes
When a congressman says he is diligently looking hard to find frivolous government spending to be cut, he is pulling wool over our eyes. Flood insurance to cover losses such as Sandy damage is a typical government fiasco, run inefficiently and with huge losses. We should immediately get government out of the unprofitable insurance business.
No smoking in Hollywood
It has long been established that people are influenced by watching movies in which actors smoke cigarettes. Almost nobody doubts this. Why then, do movie makers deny that wide-spread sex and violence do the same?
Innocent minds and twisted minds may be less able to separate fiction from real life.
It's just plain evil when Hollywood claims to be innocent.
What happened to 'Made in the U.S.A?'
A wife said to her husband, "I'm going shopping for our little junior who is growing out of his shirts, trousers and shoes." OK, said her husband, but try to purchase merchandise made in the USA. Not likely, said the wife. Virtually everything in kid's stores is made in China. That's so sad because Chinese goods are notoriously of sub-standard quality. Worse, many items have been identified as dangerous to little children.
Our federal government should be trying to protect our citizens but is doing very little. As usual, there is a malaise in our nation's capital.
What's good for the goose...
A few days ago, our president signed a bill giving him and his wife lifetime armed protection, a change from the present 10 year protection extended to past presidents. He wanted protection from the Secret Service, armed with fully automatic weapons, to protect him and his wife for life, but he wants to restrict the ability of citizens to protect their families, by limiting the types of weapon and the numbers of rounds it can hold. I always thought we were equal in the eyes of the law. Guess that don't apply to Obama. Call your congressman and let them know you want the same rights Obama gave himself.
Who's paying for immigrants?
Obama is now gung-ho for more immigration. More people who cannot speak English. Don't worry; he will change that soon, too. Who does he think is going to pay for all these new immigrants? Most importantly, where are they going to live and work?
Clean water for consumption is more than dangerously at risk. Of all the water on this earth, only 1 percent is fit for consumption. He's changing America fast and you Obama fans will get the message sooner than later.
The Americans who know exactly what he's up to see and understand what he's forcing on us and/or taking away from us. The so-called Americans who put him back in the White House are in mass hysteria and have no clue. But they will.
From the top to the bottom, bringing people down, bringing people up will come together with the biggest bang this country has ever seen. His dream has always been to bring the entire globe into one unit. Take from the rich, give to the poor. If you put all the millionaires side by side in this country, added up all their money and resources, the total would not come close to paying the deficit. By the way, who thought up the term "fiscal cliff?" Nuts! The truth is there is no fiscal cliff.
Why more immigration? Why disarm Americans who have the right to defend their homes and families? He's deep into our Constitution. Why can't the dumbest of some of you see and get it? If all the millionaires couldn't get us out of debt (fact is, it's their money), what's this idea that taxing certain people up the ying-yang or anyone for that matter, is going to make a dent in the deficit?
Anyone, including uneducated, stupid Americans should be able to understand.