Gavin Newsom; Harry Reid and EFCA; Labor Unions …

by on March 13, 2009

Dear Editor:

Gavin Newsom should be addressed by his name only since he’s not really an acting Mayor. Running, figuratively and factually, from his own demons and for higher office while issuing one press release after another in lieu of running San Francisco. I thought Gavin was a great supervisor for the Marina district Mayor Brown appointed him to fill, but when he ran for Mayor and won, he changed and became harder to find and hold accountable than George Bush the last eight years, and that’s a major accomplishment.

A two issue Mayor, marriage equality and “Care not Cash” got him elected and then he went into a major spin where he seemed to lose his marbles and morals. That’s his business, and so is being a Mayor who is present and accountable to the citizens of this city. We’ve had two marriages, one divorce, many trips to Switzerland on the Google jet, more to Hawaii on the Getty jet and God knows how many other trips on other private planes. The point is he ain’t here LEADING the city. To further complicate this mess, he decided long ago not to talk with people he doesn’t like, namely, the Board of Supervisors and anyone who criticizes his lack of productivity as Mayor.

I give Willie Brown kudos for dignity and grace under fire, he never chickened out of a political fight, and he didn’t need the largest press and public relations staff of any Mayor in history to try and protect him. I think its time for San Franciscans, Californians and US citizens to start holding ALL politicians responsible and accountable for doing a job in the interest of those electing them, and not spend the majority of their time and the wealth of lobbyists and special interests wanting to keep them in office to grease the crooked wheels of greed and corruption.


Stu Smith
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Harry Reid and Feinstein wish the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) dies, but they can’t express that subliminal death wish. They have to act in clever ways to facilitate the death blow to EFCA by fellow Republicans. I hate to see people talking about her (Feinstein) so much while Barbara Boxer, who came courageously in favor of EFCA, is passed in silence.

Naffis Griffis
San Francisco

To The Editor:

The pendulum swings. My father was a union man most of his life. Only to see union shops close up and move to other states that either had “right to work” laws or were just non-union towns.

The theory of a Union is great. Workers can band together and bargain collectively for reasonable working conditions and salaries. Unfortunately, the key word here is “theory.” Far too often, what starts out as a great theory turns into something that is barely even recognizable as an organization to facilitate decent, reasonable salaries and working conditions.

Union bosses get some strange ideas like, using the union pension funds for political purposes when the union membership either had no idea and or no voice in how their money is spent.

Public safety Unions are another example of unions going way to far. Personally, I would love a job where I report to work, stay there for one 24hr period and then get three days off. Nice if you can get it. I don’t denigrate fire fighters as they are some of the bravest people I know, but 1 day on 3 days off? Please. Is this even remotely economic?

With our economy acting like a yo-yo and pressure from extremely cheep labor from countries like Mexico, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and places like that how does a business even contemplate survival when they are bound by a union contract that mandates a compensation package that will put them out of business if things even remotely go bad even for a little while.

Consider the business that is union. They have n numbers of workers. Crunch time hits, economic turn down, whatever the cause, but orders for whatever the company makes take a hit. As with any union job once you make it past probation, it takes damn near an act of Congress to get fired. The business needs to trim its work force and this is not to make sure the owner can buy his next sail boat, but for the company to survive.

Of the workers on the books, there are ones that are a constant source of great work, new ideas that work with management to make the company great. This is where the union seniority system is broken. Because now to survive the company has to make cuts in workforce. “Joe” is a one of the stars but unfortunately his is low in the rankings. So who does the union force to be laid off first? Why Joe of course.

Also consider the mentality that is often all to prevalent in union shops. Joe busts his ass for his money and does all the great things that I ascribed in the previous paragraph. Of course the company ownership loves Joe, but more than likely the rest of the people who work there are going to be saying things to Joe like, “Man slow down, you make the rest of us look bad.” Or the Shop Steward will take Joe aside and it will be more like, “Hey asshole whats your problem? You don’t do that. You do what the rest of us do, and that is what the contract says we do, nothing more nothing less.”

When Unions came into being in this country, it was right and correct. The Robber Barons were vicious and merciless to workers and if the boss decided he didn’t like the way you ate your lunch you could get fired, on the spot, without so much as even an explanation. The pendulum has now swung back to the other extreme where it can take months to get rid of an employee for cause!

We all want decent paying jobs so that we can provide for ourselves and if we have one, our families. But unions need to re-tool not just business. Unions need to change from an adversary to an ally of business and vice versa.

Bill Sappington
Oakland CA

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