Letters to the Editor

American workers need protection, support

"Support American workers, not pushy unions, this Labor Day" advises Amity Shlaes of Bloomberg News. I find it odd that on Labor Day your paper's opinion page celebrates hard times for labor unions.

The American worker hasn't faced such terrible times since the Great(er) Depression. It would be great if someone represented their side.

You recognize that employers are dropping health care benefit plans, and pension plans are being reduced to the "riskier retirement savings vehicle: the 401(k) plan," according to another piece on the same opinion page. You're lamenting that employees are losing employer-sponsored benefits.

In many, many cases the labor force gained the right to better benefit plans through union negotiations.

We need look no further than the plight of some of South Carolina's 20th century textile workers who worked without the protection of union representation. They were taken advantage of, provided poor benefits, and abused by their employers -- even to the extent that some companies raided their employees' retirement plans and left them unprotected.

On this Labor Day, let's try for more balance. No system is perfect. Employers aren't saints, but some are honorable. Unions got too strong in some cases, but contributed significantly to protecting employees.

Let's get behind the American worker and demand a system to protect their rights and their future.

Lew and Kathleen Leopard