In his guest column, “Show-Me State legislators have a rare opportunity” (Jan. 1, 25A), Andrew B. Wilson of the Show-Me Institute writes that Missouri “should end compulsory unionism as a condition of employment.”
This is boilerplate right-to-work rhetoric. Mr. Wilson and the Show-Me Institute totally ignore the fact that there is no such thing as compulsory unionism. No one is forced to join a union. Union membership is voluntary.
The movement to pass right-to-work laws in Missouri has nothing to do with workers’ rights but has everything to do with suppressing wages and benefits of the middle class simply to increase corporate profits.
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Mr. Wilson correctly states that six neighboring states have passed right-to-work. Must Missouri emulate broken Kansas?
So, if you don’t want to join a union, work non-union. If you don’t want better training and safety, work non-union.
If you don’t want higher wages, work non-union. If you don’t want better health care, work non-union. If you don’t want a respectable retirement, work non-union.
But if you want to raise your standard of living with better pay, greater benefits and contracts that both the employer and the employees agree to follow, join a union and gladly pay your union dues.
IBEW LU 124
Care for the poor
Some people on the right bemoan our national debt, pinning it to social service programs such as Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.
I wonder if two tax cuts simultaneously aligned with two unfinanced wars had anything to do with our debt. I wonder if bank deregulation and the consequent housing bubble had anything to do with it. I wonder if the one-percenters not paying their fair share has anything to do with it.
Civilized countries provide shelter (affordable and decent housing), food and access to health care (not expensive ER care) to their citizens. Not doing this ignores the poor and exposes an ever-enlarging sinkhole in our country.
Turning a blind eye and ignoring the sheer depths of severe persistent poverty in this country will not fill the sinkhole. Believing that every poor person can rise out of poverty if he or she just works a little harder is delusional.
To correct debt, a country can cut programs or increase revenue. Cutting our two finest social programs, Medicare and Social Security, is not the way to go. Privatization of these two programs, no matter how done, would also be a disaster.
Robert Stuber, M.D.
Out of touch
Nearly all Americans have experienced a variety of emotional reactions to statements or tweets made by President-elect Donald Trump. As a physician, I believe I have now been most offended by the New Year’s Eve comment he made about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
At a private party at Mar-A-Lago Resort, surrounded by billionaires and millionaires in very expensive clothes, he announced that his first priority was to cancel Obamacare. His friends surrounding him cheered that announcement, and he clearly loved it.
I am very confident that the only individuals in that ballroom who have benefited from Obamacare were some, or all, of the wait staff and other employees.
I don’t know whether I was more offended that Mr. Trump made that announcement or that his fellow partygoers cheered about it. It was a terribly insensitive incident to add to the list of many others.
John Yeast, M.D.
Even before the first day of Congress 2017, House Republicans secretly voted to strip power from the Office of Congressional Ethics. (Jan. 4, 1A, “Plans to gut ethics office rejected)
Only a well-timed admonishment from our Tweeter-in-Chief saved the day. Mind you, President-elect Donald Trump isn’t against the move; he just doesn’t think it should be their top priority.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also wants to ban live-streaming video from the floor of the House. Apparently, the Democrats’ gun-control sit-in last June was too much for secretive Republicans.
The real message is clear: Republicans want to be free to act as unethically as they see fit and avoid the scrutiny of taxpayers as they gut the programs most Americans want to keep. If they work quickly under the cloak of secrecy, we won’t find out until it is too late.
Don’t let this become the new normal. Call your representatives and demand ethical and transparent government.
My wife and I recently returned home after a nearly three-week trip. I picked up The Star, and it was very comforting to see the paper still hates President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans, conservatives, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Kansas, the Kansas budget and the Jayhawks, in no particular order. It’s great to be home!