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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Harboring Job Resentment

September 01, 2004

Re "An Inside Job on the Docks," editorial, Aug. 29: Even though the world is not always a fair and perfect place, job positions should be filled based on work experience, not whom you know.

It is ridiculous that applicants in Long Beach were able to skip the first-round selection in a lottery for a job that pays $90,000 a year and go straight into the final pool because they were friends or relatives of dockworkers. This gave them a 1-in-6 chance of landing a spot on the applicant list, while the other contenders had only a 1-in-300 chance.

Shouldn't jobs be filled with qualified people, not cousins and siblings of the boss, or did I miss something?

Joan Erskine

Winnetka

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I have been a dues-paying member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for 20 years and my son was not selected, and I know at least a dozen other dues-paying members whose children were not selected.

The question The Times' editors should be asking is: Is that fair? I don't think it is. I'm certain if I were to go through The Times' payroll, or any company's for that matter, I would discover that many of the people who work there are related or were friends of employees before they were hired.

Isn't it a long-standing practice in every industry that when there is a job opening, the employer goes to his employees and asks, "Do you know anybody who could do a good job?" Apparently, The Times is obsessed by its own anti-labor bias.

Anthony Scirocco

San Pedro

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It's deja vu all over again. In the early 1960s, The Times ran an article about the labor shortage at L.A. harbor. So, right out of high school, I went to the stevedore companies to apply. "Sorry, you have to be a union member before we can hire you." So I went to the union. "Sorry, you have to have a job before you can become a union member." It was a Mobius loop designed to protect their own.

Trent D. Sanders

La Canada

*

There is another position that needs filling: Wanted -- A fearless federal, state or local politician/public official with the appropriate jurisdiction and intestinal fortitude who is willing to help open the gates of fair employment opportunities to the most-qualified job applicants. (Let us readers know if there are any applications submitted.)

Dan Mariscal

Montebello

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