Northern Michigan is fortunate to have as open a forum as your publication.
While Eric Smith repeats the labels corporate America has pinned on the Teamsters, he fails to mention that for the past couple of decades the Teamsters haven‘t been able to go to the bathroom without the Justice Department tagging along (re: Letters 5/29). This has certainly made them, contrary to Mr. Smiths statements, a union that Corporate America should model itself after.
My understanding is no Teamster has ever missed a pension payment, while the misdeeds of Enron, Arthur Anderson and the like have destroyed the retirement plans of tens of thousands of fine Americans.
Perhaps if the Feds pursued corporations with the same zeal they‘ve shown the Teamsters, Americans would not be losing their jobs and life‘s savings with the frequency they are these days. Of course that would be anti capitalist and I suppose unAmerican.
Why are unions automatically branded bad and business organizations formed to exploit employees okay?
T. Luoma Rapid City, SD
Teen pregnancies down
The number of teen pregnancies in the United States is at a record low! In 1999 (the most recent year that accurate data is available) the teen pregnancy rate fell to a record low and the number of teen abortions was the lowest since 1973, according to new national data compiled by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI).
AGI researchers attributed about one-fourth of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate to increased abstinence among teens and the remainder to changes in behavior, including increased use of long-lasting contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera. This is great news for all of us! We should be thankful for the agencies in our community who are working so diligently to prevent teen pregnancies and abortions.
Planned Parenthood is one of those agencies. Planned Parenthood runs a successful “How to Say No“ program for teens that deals with self-esteem, positive decision-making and the importance of abstinence. They also provide factual and comprehensive information to families, access to affordable contraception and health care for women and teens and educational resources on a number of topics. They are a wonderful resource for all of us, and they are working to lower the teen pregnancy rate even further.
Annaka Dodd TC
Neutral in Petoskey
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Petoskey City Council for declining the gracious offer by the Teamsters to involve themselves in the current unpleasantness taking place on Connable Avenue.
As a Petoskey resident and voter, I agree with the mayor and the city manager that there is no apparent reason for the city to stick its nose where it doesn‘t belong and applaud their decision to maintain strict neutrality.
There is one way the city should be involved, however, and that is insisting upon the removal of the “NMH Negotiate“ signs that have spread like a malignancy over city property recently. To my mind, their continued presence gives the false impression that the Petoskey citizenry is overwhelming in its support of the Teamsters.
Bill Mayer Petoskey
Our Tex-Mex towns
In an article by Congressman Bart Stupak, he carped, ad nauseum, about how the selfish Republican Party did not care about “working Americans“ and how their tax cuts were not only unfair to “working Americans,“ but were also “mortgaging the future of this country.“ (“Borrowing Money to Cut Taxes Doesn‘t Make Sense,“ 6/5.)
Contrary to the congressman‘s apparent inability to understand the fundamentals of economic theory, the borrowing “does“ make sense, but the congressman in all actuality is not interested in tried and true economic theory and government policy implementation, only political expediency.
But at whose expense? Congressman Stupak mouthed two trite phrases in his article which are indicative of his political party‘s attempt to exacerbate the Northern Michigan region‘s increasingly volatile conflict between the various social and economic classes in anticipation of the 2004 elections. 1.) “As stunning a setback as this tax cut plan is to working Americans and their families...‘, 2.) “Democrats are the only people who have developed rational plans to create jobs immediately.“
Are “Democrats... the only people who have developed rational plans to create jobs immediately?“ (Are you sure, Bart?)
Is the flooding of Stupak‘s congressional district with low wage-earning foreign workers a local example of the Democrat party‘s rational plan to create jobs?
Last winter I was told by a staffer at Stupak‘s Petoskey office that his Michigan offices assisted companies in acquiring the labor from what I believe are people who are little more than slaves being sold at public auction. Consequently, it is not an innocuous tax cut bill that working families need to fear, it is Congressman Stupak‘s complicity in exploiting third world laborers and the effect their importation is having on the region‘s environment and domestic labor force.
To “working Americans“ in Northern Michigan, the foreign labor that is dumped on the regional job market in the late spring is a “stunning setback.“ Their arrival not only deprives many residents of the jobs they are searching for, but also because the labor pool is artificially high, the over-supply of labor tends to force wages down for the jobs that are available.
The other deleterious effect of imported labor is the loss of forests and beaches to resort sprawl, a phenomenon that could not occur without the exploitation of people of color from the third world.
Maybe “the brilliantly successful C.E.O. and investor Warren Buffet“ owns commercial property in Mackinaw City; that might explain why he (Stupak) seems to have sold his soul and is embroiled in a meaningless mine-is-bigger-than-yours contest with his Republican brethren in Washington, D.C., while the district he was elected to represent begins to look like a Tex-Mex border town.
Steve A. Redder Petoskey