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Letters: What purpose do unions serve?

September 05, 2012

Re "Union's efforts benefit us all," Column, Sept. 2

Unions have a place in society. However, Michael Hiltzik does not mention the deleterious effects of some union policies.

Because unions espouse work rules that protect the least-effective employees, they have made many American and European industries unable to compete in the global economy. Witness the passenger railroad, steel and auto industries in our country. Through their purses and numbers, unions have influenced politicians to implement unaffordable benefits.

So please, Mr. Hiltzik, display some balance.

Ron Stevens


Hiltzik makes the following points: that the facts in his story refute the stereotype that unions exist merely to provide featherbedding for workers, and that these workers can go directly from stacking boxes or gang activities to earning $33 an hour (annual salary of $68,640, assuming 40 hour workweeks).

But what gets me is that he seems to flippantly throw out that they earn healthcare and pension benefits of an additional $22 an hour ($45,760 annually). Health and pension benefits of $45,760 on top of only a $68,000 salary? And the headline says that somehow this benefits everyone? How, exactly?

Steven Johnson

Redondo Beach


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