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Ban Double-Breasting

August 09, 1987

With interest and considerable pleasure, I read Harry Bernstein's June 30 column, "Unions Didn't Cause Loss of Building Jobs."

It is not often that what organized labor does and seeks is appraised objectively, especially in this present period when business and anti-union individuals and organizations have uncorked a vituperative campaign to block passage in the Congress of so-called double-breasting legislation.

I was particularly pleased to see that Bernstein mentioned a National Bureau of Economic Research study--financed by the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Science Foundation and North Carolina State University, lest anyone question its authenticity--showing that the higher productivity of union building and construction tradesmen more than compensates for their reportedly higher wages and benefits.

But neither wages nor productivity is the issue concerning the war being waged by the Chamber of Commerce, the Right-to-Work Committee and others who consistently are against any measure that protects any worker--a war in which our opponents have released a barrage of misinformation, falsehoods and deceit.

Double-breasting is the name of a greedy, cynical, dishonest device that enables a company to take its same organization, its same equipment and its same personnel and divide itself into two companies--one to employ workers under the terms of a contract voluntarily negotiated and signed; the other company providing a way to completely disregard that contract.

The Senate and House bills banning double-breasting contain absolutely no language that would force workers to join a union. They contain absolutely no language that would force an employer to hire union workers. They do not give workers any new picketing privileges. They neither increase nor decrease disputes at a job site.

As a matter of blunt, plain fact, the only issue with which the bills deal is the sanctity of a legal contract.

Fairness is the only thing building and construction trades workers are seeking.

ROBERT A. GEORGINE

President

Building and Construction Trades

Department, AFL-CIO

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