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Forum: ‘Union tax’ unfair to workers

Updated: September 30, 2013 2:08PM



This Labor Day, I would like to highlight individuals whose work is on display every day — merit-shop, construction professionals.

The vast majority of construction workers (86.8 percent) choose not to belong to a labor union. They have made the decision to put their professional craft skills to use in a merit-shop, free-enterprise environment.

However, the livelihood of these merit-shop workers is under assault by politicians who reward labor unions with political favors by supporting government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs). When governments require a PLA on a publicly funded construction project, they essentially tilt the playing field in favor of contractors that agree to use organized labor.

In response to labor unions’ efforts to promote PLA mandates, state after state has stood up for the construction work force by rejecting government-mandated PLAs. Since 2011, 14 states have banned them, bringing the total number of states to do so to 18.

But not Illinois. We continue to promote and encourage the use of these expensive, unnecessary mandates that cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year — in effect, a “union tax.”

Let our state leaders know that it is time to put an end to these discriminatory government-mandated PLAs. This is the highest honor we can pay to all in the construction work force this Labor Day.

Alicia Martin

President, Illinois chapter

Associated Builders & Contractors

Jacksons betrayed our trust

Regarding the Jacksons, I never want to pass judgment, but when you are given the honor of serving the public, you should never betray the public trust. It is easy to forget because our egos can get the best of us, but I always say, “I would never do anything to dishonor my ancestry or heritage.”

There is always a time when you will be challenged, and you must have a level line you will never cross. To whom much is given, much is required is true in every sense. How selfish to dishonor your wife, your children and more importantly, yourself.

It matters not after the fact that you find honor or religion to save your butt, it matters at the time of trial that you stood for ethics, fairness and the common good. These are not high ideals. As Gandhi said, “You must be prepared to serve people with a servant’s heart.”

Lorenzo Clemons

Beverly

Manning’s disorder

The defense lawyers for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified government documents, acknowledged his gender identity disorder. Such a problem requires prompt (in-childhood) treatment.

If Manning’s disorder had been treated, no telling how many of our friends and secrets would be safe.

Tragically, California and New Jersey have banned such psychiatric services on bogus ideological grounds. Appropriate treatment is a need, not a crime.

John J. McCartney Jr.

Chicago



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