Letters: Protect all union members
January 11, 2013 10:08PM
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:17AM
Carpenters Local 174 members didn’t get to work much the past few years — maybe three months of the year.
They couldn’t get much, if anything, for their children for Christmas. A lot of them received a letter Dec. 24 that as of Jan. 1, they would lose their insurance, due to lack of hours, and have to pay $3,357 by Jan. 1 to keep it.
One week? These people are not working. If the hall would make a rotation list, all would have a fair chance at working and keeping insurance. People wouldn’t have lost their homes and cars. If union brothers have problems with each other, the hall needs to step in and mediate.
It would be nice to see the hall focus on individuals who have problems with addictions and get them help (not brush it under the table). Sit down and talk with individuals who need a step up with finances to get back into some of the plants they can’t get into because of their financial situation.
Over half of those not working also will be losing their unemployment benefits soon. Then what? You can’t save money on three months of work.
Whatever happened to the way the union used to be — doing whatever it took to take care of your members? A union is a family. You don’t turn your back on family. In their own words on their website, they say: “Recruiting New Members and Training All Members.” Build on the union’s nearly 130-year history of improving lives through hard work, education, solidarity.
Put them all to work and provide education and mandatory training when laid off. Get rid of favoritism and back-stabbing.
Welcome gay marriage
Legislative leaders recently hve announced that they will be seeking to pass a measure that will grant civil marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. Urge all lawmakers to be on the right side of history as this measure comes up for a vote and ensure our gay and lesbian family members, neighbors and colleagues no longer are treated as second-class citizens.
Although Illinois has offered civil union rights to gay and lesbian couples, these rights are limited when compared with those afforded to married couples. Governments use the institution of marriage to recognize and protect family units.
Currently, couples in civil unions must pay federal estate taxes when inheriting their partner’s property.
There are no immigration rights for a foreign partner. They can’t file a joint federal tax return, and they cannot collect Social Security payments when their partner dies. How is this fair and equal?
Unfortunately our society has intertwined the ideas of civil marriage and religious marriage. The rights gays and lesbians are seeking have nothing to do with religious marriage and would not force a religious institution to recognize a same-sex marriage. The measure that will be brought up for a vote specifically states that respect is paid to religious freedom as outlined in the U.S. and Illinois constitutions.
It is my sincere hope that our lawmakers will listen to overwhelming support that has risen in Illinois for gay marriage. As citizens, we deserve a policy that values fairness and dignity for all. Now is the time for Illinois to join the growing ranks of states that welcome all couples the freedom to marry the person they love.
Our wallets are lighter
Joliet residents will enter 2013 feeling much lighter — in their wallets. That’s because in 2011, Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante and Councilmen John Gerl, Don Fisher and Mike Turk voted for exorbitant increases, including the city’s sales tax, electricity tax, telecommunications tax, natural gas tax and ambulance and garbage rates.
These politicians raised our taxes even though Joliet suffers from high unemployment, burglary and foreclosure. What’s more, they voted for these tax increases without ever seeing or voting on a 2012 budget!
The only blessing for 2013 is it’s an election year, and there are no more proposed tax increases before the April 2013 election.