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E Pluribus Union

August 11, 1991

I enjoyed Samuel G. Freedman's review of Stephen Fraser's "Labor Will Rule" (July 21), except for the first two paragraphs in which he seems anxious to portray present-day unions in a negative light.

These opening remarks by a reviewer of great writing skills and stature in literary circles puts him in a class of thinkers who are, seemingly, eager to see the unions die and to write their obituary.

It was my good fortune to have worked closely with union leaders in our Southern California urban megalopolis for 34 years--1937-1971--including the leaders of the Sidney Hillman Labor Center in Los Angeles. Local AFL-CIO unions affiliated with this historic center are still alive and going strong to combat sweat-shop conditions in their jurisdiction of the Los Angeles garment industry.

I believe it is a disservice for an author of Freedman's stature and influence to characterize these locals and some 400 others . . . as "increasingly vestigial organs." No way. They are here to stay, alive and well in changing economic times.

JACK LEIGHTON RUGH, SAN GABRIEL

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