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Recent tale of two labor unions offers hope for the Valley’s future

Published: Sun, February 9, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Recent tale of two labor unions offers hope for the Valley’s future

The Jan. 24 Vindicator had two stories on the front page with references to the Valley’s labor unions. One story told of Vallourec workers’ vote to avoid union representation and the other story told of the closing of a union shop at Warren’s GE Lamp plant. It’s good that these two stories ran side by side. It reminded me of my experiences with steel-mill unions.

The profession that brought my family and me to the Mahoning Valley was that of designing refractory products for steel mills. I spent many days in U.S. steel mills testing new products. I spoke with many workers and workers’ union reps.

The damage done by the different unions in those mills was always difficult to accept. Even if the eventual demise of many of those mills was not brought about by the unions, it was the unions that accelerated the operating problems and hastened so many plant closings.

It was like the vote at the GE Lamp plant where GE offered to bring in a new light-bulb product if there were worker concessions in the production process. Many steel mills had similar proposals, and the union representation turned them down.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of the workers at Vallourec Star whose votes made the result come out as it did. There have been many times that groups from outside the Valley have asked me if manufacturing jobs could come back to our area. My reply always has been that any company considering opening a plant in the Valley must consider the area’s long history of labor unions. And that alone might discourage any manufacturing company from building here. Vallourec’s workers have changed that image for the better. Thanks again for that vote.

Donald Butler, Warren

Postal Service could have avoided another increase in stamp price

After reading the writer’s letter about the 49-cent stamp increase “is a true bargain,” I felt compelled to write the following comments.

If the Postal Service had managed its business efficiently and effectively over the years, maybe the cost of stamp increases over the recent years could have been avoided. For instance, all the many commemorative stamps through the years to honor this person or that cause, while commendable, is costly. I can’t begin to imagine the overwhelming costs of the various die-making machinery, design costs, multiple ink-color costs, etc., when one stamp configuration would do the job efficiently and expeditiously.

The high-level postal authorities have brought the Postal Service to the brink of bankruptcy, costing the loss of many jobs, closing of distribution centers around the country, just to mention a couple.

What about those of us on fixed incomes who have had to cut back on the number of cards we send or the fewer number of letters or packages that will be sent to our service people in and out of the country?

Also, how many businesses — both small and large — are affected by the never-ending increases, contributing to the possibility of limiting new hires?

Robert DeFelice, Youngstown

‘Disturbing’ night at the movies

I encountered a very disturb- ing situation of being bullied at a local movie theater.

My friend and I went to a film Friday evening. She stopped at the concession stand before going in to see the film. We weren’t there even 5 minutes, when a man several seats away waves his finger in my direction yelling, “Enough with the bag!”

I didn’t give an immediate response because it would not be fair to disturb other patrons trying to enjoy the movie.

Later when we exited the show, Mr. Wonderful backtracked to show how macho he was by re-emphasizing his displeasure that his quiet was disturbed for even less than five minutes.

How dare this individual work out on a complete stranger over nothing. If you want quiet, rent a movie and stay home.

As a footnote, I informed the theater that this individual ruined the movie for us. They graciously compensated us and advised us to contact security if something like this should happen again.

Brenda Kenjevari, Youngstown

This is no time to cut food stamps

I just read about thousands of people losing their food stamps because the economy is better.

What planet are they talking about?

To all of a sudden start enforcing work requirements when they had been waived is wrong.

Make new applicants do so, but don’t take from the poor to give to the rich. But as usual, the government cares about nothing but the government.

The food pantries can’t keep up with the needy as it is now.

Then of course the tax hike was supposed to be so others can get pay raises. And let’s not forget the so-called Affordable Care Act, which I believe is nothing but bull.

Never in my life did I think we would be living in such a horrible world.

Dana Olsen, Youngstown

Government intervention ruins health care in Great Britain

Cal Thomas has written an interesting article on the problems the people in the United Kingdom are having with their NHS National Health Care. To quote Mr. Thomas, their health care is in critical shape and has been since the beginning. Because of the lack of funds, doctors are being underpaid, and many have left their practice. The UK now has fewer doctors per person than any country in Europe.

This is only one of the many problems facing the British people. It takes weeks, sometimes months, to get to see a doctor. The government makes the decision on who and when one will get to see a doctor. The people in government also decide if an operation is practical.

What is going on in England is the rationing of overall health care. I don’t believe that rationing was even considered a possibility when the NHS was introduced, but government mismanagement and lack of money caused them to cut the quality of care and consequently, the complete failure of the NHS resulted.

We in the U.S. would be completely naive not to believe Obamacare will also be a monstrous failure. It’s a system that has over and over again proved it contains flaws.

Yours and my health care should be private and no business of the government.

We must not be of the opinion that what is happening in the UK will not happen here. We are a people who possess more individual freedom than any country in the world. To be told and forced to have insurance by our government is a direct attack on our personal freedom, and we must not stand for it. However, this monstrous system must be fixed before it collapses on itself and cripples our already weak economy.

Leon J. White, Columbiana

Vindicator showed poor judgment in play of two front-page stories

Last Saturday night, YOUNGS- town had the honor of hosting the legendary Elton John as he rocked a sold-out crowd at the Covelli Centre, an experience I will never forget.

I couldn’t wait to open the Sunday Vindicator to see how the amazing show would be presented. Instead, I was appalled by the cover story on the disgusting Shane Widdersheim and the large picture that took up nearly the entire front page.

This woman has no reason to be on the front page, let alone on the same page as Elton John. Shame on you for exploiting the ugliness in Youngstown instead of the greatness at the Covelli Centre.

Rita Marsco, Youngstown


1Busdriver42(16 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Mr. union basher, where you worked at did you get benefits, pd. holidays, pd. vacations? If so you can thank a union man for fighting for these benefits. You need to read about Ford Motor plant when it 1st started up, they gave them no breaks, no lunch, and they had to work on grates with running water below so when they had to pee they just whipped it out and went there because it was all man workforce. I am willing to bet you are Republican too.

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2redeye1(5000 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Busdriver You speak of the past , but let's look at unions today. I was a union member to a union that misrepresent it self. It was in bed with the company. They never honored the so-called great contract that they got us. But they did represent the LAZY and incompetent ones. They didn't get us better working conditions if anything they made them worse. They gave up things that we as a NON-UNION shop got before this union arrived.

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3redeye1(5000 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

@Dana so we are just to keep overlooking the people who are ripping -off welfare system to make you feel good WRONG! It's time these people stand up and get a job. Look at it this way , if these people would get off their lazy arses and get a job they could help pay taxes and maybe even donate to help the food kitchens out.

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4billdog1(3178 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

biker, with thinking like yours how long do you think those laws will stay in effect? As a child I recall my father and his peers stopping SCABS from crossing picket lines. They did this because they knew they had to fight for what was important. The two examples that Mr. Butler gives is limited to his perception. GE was on it's way out. They were just looking for a reason. Ride by the Niles plant, those workers didn't even get an option to vote. A few went up to Erie to continue working. I have a friend that moved up there. Now they are asking them to give and get ready for another closing. Delphi (Packard Electric) started moving to Mexico in the late 70's. All the investment in a craphole of a country. They company opened giant prostitution centers, the employees live in shanty towns, they have polluted water, poor sanitation, and corruption that unions removed during the 1930's. I don't know what you think your children and grandchildren will have in the future with your thinking? But I hope it is better then my Grandparents had. At the current rate, it isn't looking promising. How about Copperweld Mr. Butler, they gave, they gave, and they gave, and the company closed anyway. This is greed. These companies can afford to build billion dollar plants in other countries at the cost of no OSHA, no labor laws, no worker rights, and minimal pay. All this while our standard of living decreases, and the CEO's, owners and bankers hoard the stacks earned off of slave labor backs. Unions were not perfect, but the companies are showing they have never changed. The only change is your gooberment now allows them to make the stacks on the backs of third world citizens. We are quickly becoming a second world nation and people like you are somehow happy with that. I'll say a prayer for your grandchildren.

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5billdog1(3178 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Mr. White, you need to look at your own country and how PPO's and HMO's have been rationing health care since the 80's. Bless your heart for listening to the propaganda of those that want you to except the idea that it all started today. The reality is if you trace back to where it all began, the vary people that are feeding the propaganda, are the ones that started it all. The rich will always get more and better, the extremely poor (or lazy) will always get free. Don't worry the vary group that is rallying your cry, will leave you with the least. Remember, you don't deserve anything you don't earn, but you can only earn what you can afford.

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676Ytown(1316 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Public sector membership: 35.3%.
Private sector membership: 6.7%

Public participation rate more than 5 X the rate of private

Other interesting facts:

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776Ytown(1316 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

The growth in unions is in government where salaries keep rising, benefits exceed private taxpayers and it's next to impossible to fire someone. No wonder there's so much support for unions in government.

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8billdog1(3178 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

If corporate taxes are so bad why haven't corporate offices left with manufacturing?

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9Busdriver42(16 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Unions are getting scarce since the work force has grown with more females and they don't know any better. Just look around at all the foreign car owners, mostly female. I feel bad for our younger generation, prices are going up with wages going down. Walmarts love your female non-union mentality. Typical Republican response, they love having no middle class anymore.

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10jojuggie(1607 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

This busdriver is not only out in left field, but beyond the left field wall. Typical Ytowner.

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11papa1(711 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

I am 66 yrs old and worked for a local union for 33 years and am living very comfortable thanks to the benefits they fought for for decades. not to mention stopping management from treating us like dogs. do away with unions and see how much their wages drop.

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