Bob Cratchit’s ghost
I am writing this because it is obvious from the multitude of pro-LePage correspondence you receive that an alarming number of readers do not have sufficient knowledge regarding labor unions and what they have done in the last century for middle class Americans, including those who have never belonged to a union.
Pre-union working conditions were deplorable. Long hours, low pay, few benefits, no job security. The Bob Cratchit-Ebenezer Scrooge tale is not that far-fetched. As just one example, my father, as a young man, worked 18 years for one company without one day paid vacation.
What labor unions actually did was to help workers organize so they could speak out as a unit. One person standing alone is powerless.
Want to return to the way things were before unions? Just keep on supporting those in this country who seek to break unions to benefit the corporations that put them in office.
Think this is a stretch? Consider those corporations that have moved their factories out of this country to where they can hire people for next to nothing.
Labor unions have not only helped their membership but have helped others by setting the standard for what a person’s time and expertise are worth. They have raised middle class America from despair and given it dignity.
I hope my 47-year career, both as a card carrying union member and a management team member who actually helped negotiate union contracts, qualifies me to address this issue.
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Save home visits
As a police chief and a member of the national anti-crime group Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, I would like to comment on the Bangor Daily News’ recent report on the ongoing state budget process, specifically the governor’s proposal to use some of the tobacco settlement monies currently in the Fund for a Healthy Maine to pay for other budget items. One of the cuts the governor is proposing is 100 percent of the funding for home visiting programs.
As a law enforcement leader I would like to share that one of the most effective tools to reduce child abuse and neglect is home visiting services, which are being proposed for elimination. The home visiting programs provide professionals to help first-time and at-risk parents learn about the health and development needs of their children, as well as how to avoid letting stress turn into maltreatment. This program is also proven to reduce later crime.
Home visiting helps parents be better parents and children grow up to be well-adjusted, productive citizens. Violence produces more violence. Law enforcement knows and research has proven that if children are physically or mentally abused or neglected, they are more likely to become abusers and be involved in later crime.
I am urging the governor and Maine legislators to continue to support state funding for home-visiting programs, not to cut them. These programs are some of the few prevention tools we have in our collective work toward eliminating child abuse.
Veazie Chief of Police
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Business Friendly town
I am aghast at the governor’s proposal to remove the murals from the Department of Labor because a “secret admirer” and a “handful“ of others objected to them. This just goes to show the governor’s bias against unions. He speaks for the people who believe as he does but ignores those who would want the murals to stay.
I haven’t seen them but feel it is censorship in its ugliest form. What step will he take next? Will he have the Maine history texts banned and burned because they may contain some history of workers and the labor movement in Maine? Will he have the Civil War flags removed from the Hall of Flags? After all, they are Union flags. Perhaps some southern businessman may object.
Will he demand that the town of Union change its name to Business Friendly?
Just when I thought he might be running out of groups to alienate, he finds artists to add to his list! Next group please!
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Remember Maine’s history
I hope our new legislators and governor remember their history. I moved to Maine way back when the bottle bill first passed. It was an overwhelming success as cans and bottles disappeared from our beaches, roads and landfills.
As I recall, a year or two later there was a bottling-industry sponsored referendum to “create a comprehensive waste management program” that would require first dumping the bottle bill! I also recall that Mainers came out in record numbers to this off-year election and voted overwhelmingly to keep the bottle bill in place. It has been a resounding success.
We can always take our environmental responsibilities more seriously and do even more — but let’s not step back in time and destroy what we’ve done right. Republicans at the state and national level would be well served to realize that they were elected because we voters are looking for financial conservatism and fiscal responsibility. But they need also be aware that we voters — especially here in Maine — consider protecting our environment to be a conservative value.
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Save clean Maine
It is hard to even imagine in our environmentally conscious state that any of our elected leaders and legislators would consider proposing legislation that could destroy any advances made throughout the years towards improving and safekeeping our environment.
However, it is happening right now. There are at least 50 proposals that will negatively affect
our environment and the way we live. Five suggest elimination or reduction of Maine’s current “returnable beverage container initiative,” the so-called Bottle Bill.
Maine’s Bottle Bill has been successfully in place for 35 years and has proven to help Maine remain a cleaner, environmentally responsible state. Due to the current Bottle Bill, 90 percent of all beverage containers sold in our state get recycled. This reduces the impact to our landfills and transfer stations which saves money for the municipalities.
The major reason these legislative proposals are on the table has nothing to do with what we the people of Maine might want, but has everything to do with what the Maine Beverage Association (the distributors) wants. They wish not to deal with recycling anymore, claiming it’s too costly for them.
There is always a certain responsibility and “cost of doing business” involved with any business enterprise and certainly the beverage industry has the means to absorb the costs of helping our environment. We all do it on a daily basis in our own lives.
Paul F. Coburn
Old Mill Redemption Center
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