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Need to even the scales

April 8, 2011
The Daily Freeman Journal

To the Editor:

If corporations are able to lobby for subsidies and tax breaks, then lower- and middle-class workers should also be able to ban together to lobby for better pay, benefits, and working conditions. We need a balance between management and labor. That is not accomplished by eliminating labor's voice. Our country should not go back to the 1800s "survival of the fittest" Social Darwinism theory if we want to continue calling ourselves a Christian nation.

Having been on both sides of union negotiations, I have a basic understanding of each. As the first Alden School Board member in 1979 to negotiate with the teachers union, I understand the frustration that can occur on the administrative side. One year we froze salaries. Both sides present their issues and a settlement is agreed upon. That is why it is called negotiations. If management cannot sit across the table from their worker's representative, then they should not be in management.

After graduating from UNI in 2000, I became a teacher in the Alden School system. I made $23,000 and paid over $6,000 toward our family health insurance benefits. I earned my salary and helped pay for those "Cadillac" benefits. If we are to have quality public employees, they need to be fairly compensated.

Cheap labor conservatives have taken over many state capitals. The next election, we need to set the scales back to even.

Julie Stewart Ziesman




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