No savings in longer work week
After reading your editorial, "A 40-hour work week?" (Feb. 14) I must emphatically disagree with your conclusions. You say that faced with budget-cutting choices, state employees would be better off with an increased work week rather than layoffs. You also mention that the longer work week would save the state $183 million.
To begin with, there is not one penny of savings to the state as a result of the increased work week. The $183 million is a complete fabrication. AFSCME's position is that state employees should not be subjected to either the increased work week (more hours with no additional pay) or layoffs.
The key to this issue is Governor Schaefer's priorities. State employees resent the fact that for too long they have not been a priority in the state budget. The time has come for us to demand an end to sacrifices. This year employees have not received a general pay increase. Increment steps have been denied. Employee health insurance contributions have risen. The proposed longer work week would cause an estimated increase of $35 per week for extra day care coming out of the employee's pocket. All of these factors combined result in a net loss of over $3,000 annually.
It is time to call a halt to the bashing of state employees. Through necessity and economic survival, the employees in this state are beginning to make a political difference.
We will continue the fight against these injustices with an unshakable determination until we achieve a final victory.
The writer is executive director of the Maryland State Employees Union, Council 92 of AFSCME.
Here's a question for Evening Sun readers (in reference to Elise T. Chisolm's article, "Low cost of research," Feb. 12): If your dog got sick and were dying, do you think it would be scientifically possible to find a cure for your dog by experimenting on a healthy child? Then how can you expect to find a cure for your sick child by experimenting on a healthy dog? Animal experimentation is a scientific fraud.
There is an easy solution to Elise Chisolm's concern for medical research to continue even if it means using animals. Why not put those animals sitting in jails wasting taxpayers' hard-earned money to good use?
R. J. Teich
Steel mill blues
The present conditions of the steel mills are a far cry from the heyday, when thousands upon thousands filled the humming plant and it was chaos when changing shifts.
The once-filled parking lots now have space to spare. The smoke of red, black and white that once poured out of the huge stacks is now rarely seen.
The glory of the American age of making steel is fast becoming a memory. Is it a total collapse, could it be dying, or has it still a chance of a resurrection? That seems to be the deep concern among the skeleton crews still clinging to their jobs.
Joseph Thaddeus Kasprzak
The writer is a retired steel worker.
In response to Margaret McMahon's ignorant tirade (Forum, Feb. 11) against the single mother whose story was featured the previous week: First, her inflammatory use of the terms "unwed mother" who was able to "afford such luxuries" as a television proves Ms. McMahon had her own agenda.
The fact is, readers were not informed whether the woman was a single mother due to widowhood, divorce from an abusive spouse or abandonment. It also was no one else's business.
Second, Ms. McMahon's insinuations that this mother was a welfare abuser were an insult to this woman who is a full-time worker and taxpayer. If anything, this mother should be commended, not condemned, for having such a well-cared-for family to show in spite of her financial hardship.
Last week I had the urge to send some notes to our people at the war front. Not having any particular name or address, I marked the envelopes to "A Service Person Defending Us." I felt sure that the post office would get them there. But recently I found one in my mail box marked, "Return to Sender, Insufficient Address."
Since I sent those first notes I have included "Operation Desert Storm" on the envelopes. My hope is that they now will get to the correct desert.
The last check
As I gaze at my final unemployment check, my thoughts are of the overworked and underpaid state employees who so bravely chose to fight for their right to maintain a shortened work week and face an almost certain period of mandated layoffs and firings.
What will they do when they join the ever-growing ranks of the unemployed and look longingly to the newspaper for guidance in their search for new employment ' a search that I and my wife have made every day for more than six months, a search that has left us both physically and emotionally drained?
Do these people not see that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? When the entire economy of this state is crumbling around them, can they not see the hypocrisy of their own deeds? Would it not be better to work a few extra hours a week than to eagerly await the biweekly paltry yet taxable remuneration offered by unemployment?
Thomas E. Weathers
Mt. Stump Dump
The fires of Mount Stump Dump will be extinguished when each stump is lifted out and soaked individually.
If it were not for the smoke and soot emissions, there would be the makings of a tourist attraction here unequaled by anything this side of Yellowstone.
Who are the Soviets to declare to the world that the recent civilian deaths in Iraq demonstrate the need to start negotiating a peace in the Middle East? Why do civilian deaths of the enemy constitute a basis for negotiation by the allied coalition? How many thousands of innocent Muslim women and children did the Soviets kill in their Afghanistan debacle?
It is bad enough that the Soviets are trying to use the war to bolster world opinion of themselves. But the American media outdoes itself once again by turning the civilian deaths into propaganda. War is a terrible thing and people die, some needlessly. But we as a nation need to focus on the need to tTC carry out the United Nations resolutions as swiftly as possible. The goal is to return Kuwait to its rightful owners while keeping allied casualties to a minimum.
Shame on the Soviets and the American media for forcing their misguided opinions on us. Let's support our troops with more than yellow ribbons. Let's tell the networks and the press that we want reporting of the facts, not bleeding-heart editorializing.
John D. Crosby