My entire life has been oriented to the welfare of citizens. The unions have been maligned first of all by ex-President Ronald Reagan. The beating the unions have taken from the upper class of Americans is so extreme that I strongly feel any effort I can offer to elect good Democratic candidates is my duty as an American citizen who stands for just one word "justice."
My union card is Subchapter 74 AFSCME Retiree program Chapter 31. That card represents everything that I hold dear to my heart.
Your last Report from the President's column was wonderful and I've read it at least three or four times. I read the AFSCME Public Employee magazine from cover to cover. It keeps me well informed on many current issues.
Port Byron, Ill.
My husband is a member of AFSCME and so I'll read the magazine that arrives in our home every other month or so. I'm the daughter of two hard-working, blue-collar people. Although my husband and I are not on welfare, never have been on welfare, we are just two ordinary people struggling to raise our four young kids on one paycheck.
What I read in the Letters column this last time (March/April) from one woman from Port Jervis, N.Y., has enraged me. She accused "not all," but most, welfare recipients of not caring for their children, being criminals, druggies and alcoholics, as well as abusive to those who surround them. Yes, by all means, there are abusers of the welfare system. But are most welfare recipients guilty of the ugly and cold things she accuses them of? The only real thing they're guilty of is being poor. "If you don't work, you do not eat," she said. In other words, let's starve off the unfortunates. Let's watch children, unfortunate enough to be born to poor people, die from hunger so that they won't be a drain on us economically. For, as she proclaims, "...the poor who do nothing for this country but bring it down."
Money will come and go. Riches will rot and material goods will be lost in the ages to come. What we'll never lose is what we treasure inside ourselves: compassion for our fellow human, understanding and goodwill.
Catherine Kennedy Marsden
As I was reading the Public Employee magazine for March/April 1996, I commented to my husband how positive this issue was. Then, after I read "Letters" from members, I was so upset I ate two bowls full of Fruit Loops and drank milk. Whose side are you on? What are you trying to prove printing such negative comments? Of course you have to print different opinions, but we get enough negative input against government, unions and the working person from our elite San Diego Union Tribune & City Administrations. Day after day, the information we get favors the Republicans and their "rule and ruin" attacks on the current Federal Administration and unions. Now and then, it will print an article in which union representatives attempt to defend the union policies and workers and it is time for a celebration when a union worker gets their comments printed. Most working people do not have the time to write the newspaper about their opinions, especially when they won't be printed. Instead of printing letters from people who used the benefits of government and unions but care little about the worker's problems of today, you could visit San Diego and let us all know more about what our union here is doing.
San Diego, Calif.
I was surprised to find four members of AFSCME feel Newt Gingrich speaks for them—but happy to know they weren't from Minnesota. I have a difficult time understanding how people who have benefited from being a union member can agree with the Republican philosophy. Maybe they gained too much financially.
I moved here from Texas (right-to-work state) and appreciated being a part of the union benefits. I support the union concept and your message strikes a chord with me. I am appalled at the woman who spoke so disparagingly of "Welfare People." I wonder if she ever thought, "There but for the grace of God go I," since most people are one paycheck away from disaster. She must be a very miserable person, to be so selfish and bitter.
Please tell me how I can feel good about my paycheck for highway maintenance if that is borrowed money, plunging my kids and grandkids further into trillion dollar debt? Here in Wisconsin I have to balance my personal checkbook. And while I don't like the rough ride on State Highway 21, I have to wait year after year for the funds to smooth the road because our State Constitution mandates a balanced budget—no work till there is real money to pay the bill! Here in Wisconsin we like that.
Obviously, not so in Washington. Not so at our Union headquarters either? Please fill the next possible issue of the Public Employee magazine with your long list of things we can do to balance our federal budget so we and our kids can feel good about paying our bills with real money!
Brother Lyle Conrad
Wisconsin Local 1903