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It is reported (June 27) that state Sen. Dave Thompson, as a GOP candidate for governor, “would continue his push to make Minnesota a so-called ‘Right to Work’ state, where union membership and dues are optional.”
Making union membership and dues optional may sound fair, but why not report about the other side of the deceptively named Right to Work laws? There is no mention that even though a worker doesn’t have to belong to the union or pay union dues, that worker still receives the same representation, wages, benefits, vacations, etc., as the dues-paying members. In addition, under right-to-work laws, unions are required by law to represent the non-dues-paying worker when that worker is disciplined or fired, even when those grievances go into the costly arbitration process.
Ask yourself: What other organizations are required to represent everyone even though the person or organization doesn’t pay membership fees/dues of some sort?
Just imagine the outcry from organizations like the American Legion or VFW if all veterans could walk in off the street without paying membership dues and take advantage of all the activities, services and social events these great organizations provide. Just think of the lobbyists who would flood the State Capitol if legislators proposed laws that required the Chamber of Commerce to represent all businesses, regardless of dues.
MICHAEL LAFAVE, Forest Lake
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A June 27 article about excessive nitrogen in Minnesota’s waterways is yet another example of a business damaging a public asset without paying for it. In this case, farmers’ use of nitrogen fertilizers pollutes waters that the public must clean up — or just live with.
Farmers are not the only “free riders.” Electric utilities do the same when they spew pollutants into the air. Similarly, bankers were free riders when their high-risk activities caused a near-meltdown of our financial system. Taxpayers were required to bail them out, and the bankers suffered little or no cost.
We need to think about how we can recoup the costs imposed on society by such free riders. Perhaps a tax on nitrogen fertilizer, for example.
In addition, we might think again about our own behavior. Excessive car trips pollute the air, clog the roads and impose other costs on society that we drivers do not cover.
So long as it is “free” to mess up public assets, most of us will keep doing it. We can fix this.
STEVE CARLSON, Edina
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Men, you’re overdressed and making us all suffer
Why do men continue to hang onto the archaic dress code of long-sleeved shirt, tight necktie and coat in this warm summer weather? Time and again we see news broadcasters and businessmen wearing this type of attire while more sensibly attired ladies are wearing sleeveless, open-necklined and very attractive dresses or blouses. This just doesn’t make sense to me. Please — dress for the weather and make your viewers more comfortable.
JOANNE LABERNIK, Minnetonka
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.