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Open trade agreements erode American industry



Published: Mon, January 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Open trade agreements erode American industry

EDITOR:

Our Greatest Generation is being destroyed by the open trade policies created by our government.

In the late '60s, Ross Philips, district manager of Youngstown Republic Steel, put out an order that no foreign cars were to be parked in Republic Steel parking lots. The following week he had to rescind that order. He also wanted the open hearth furnace employees to take a a cut in their incentive pay to be in line with the other steel mills in the Valley otherwise he would close the furnaces down. He said, "You people are making more money than your superintendent." They laughed stating that they make the best steel in the Valley. They refused, and six months later the furnaces were shut down. Meanwhile free trade was eroding all of our industries. Republic Steel was bought out by L.T.V. Steel.

In August 1986, I received my "Dear John" letter from L.T.V. Steel that I would be losing my medical coverage. That is when we organized Solidarity U.S.A. We went to Cleveland, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington. We walked the halls of Congress and the Senate. Some of the people in these offices didn't know that steel mills existed in this country. We did get our medical benefits restored, but now 16 years later we will lose them again as well as our death benefits.

The younger generation is digging themselves into a hole by buying everything on credit with credit cards. When they can't pay their bills they file for bankruptcy.

We in the United States are not far behind Argentina, which is on the verge of economic collapse. Our politicians are short sighted. They just think of getting on the government dole instead of seeing that the proper laws are enforced to help our industries keep an even balance of what comes in and out of our country by putting a tariff on commodities that will hurt our economy.

A friend of mine said that he would advise our children to get government jobs. They have all the benefits that we used to have. Since the '50s most of the government workers have been organized and receive raises and benefits and go out on strike if they don't get what they want and expect taxes to go up to provide these raises. Yet members of the general public are losing their jobs and benefits. Everything is going way out of balance.

LOUIS J. DEFELICE

Youngstown

GM and schools need experienced workforce

EDITOR:

Please allow me to take exception to the Jan. 11 Vindicator article "Board member's remark triggers strong reaction."

New Youngstown School Board member Clarence Boles is quoted: & quot;Do like General Motors and buy them all out & quot; replacing retirees with & quot;bright eyed, bushy tailed young college kids. & quot; Mr. Boles was reportedly making reference to Youngstown school teachers and administrators who he believes accept poor student performance.

At General Motors Lordstown Assembly, we take pride in our experienced and diversified workforce. We are fortunate to have one of the most talented, experienced and committed production, maintenance and salaried teams in the industry.

Their dedication to the future of Lordstown and the Mahoning Valley is a daily lesson to our younger team members.

Our veteran workforce is the lifeline of our 36-year-old plant and the fuel inspiring Lordstown's survival for the next generation of this Valley.

& quot;Bright eyed and bushy tailed young college kids & quot; as Mr. Boles referred to them cannot alone run our plant nor our company. I'm sure they cannot run the Youngstown Schools without the mentorship of committed and experienced educators.

TOM MOCK

Lordstown

X The writer is communications leader at General Motors Lordstown Assembly.




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