The Baltimore Sun

Unfair for AFSCME to get additional fee

AFSCME Maryland Director Patrick Moran was quoted in "Union seeks nonmember fees" (Feb. 18) as saying that AFSCME's efforts to seek a mandatory deduction of service fees from the paychecks of state employees is "about democracy, bottom line."

What Mr. Moran, and the article addressing the legislation to allow a mandatory fee, fail to acknowledge is that when elections were held more than a dozen years ago, and AFSCME fought hard for the votes of state employees to become their collective bargaining representative, its representatives made no mention of such service fees.

There was no warning given to state workers that AFSCME would eventually be going to the governor and the General Assembly seeking the right to negotiate for the deduction of service fees from state employees who are not members of AFSCME, and even from employees already paying dues to another union.

And certainly those individuals hired in the 12 years since that election took no part in the decision to have AFSCME as the state employees' exclusive bargaining representative.

State employees have been subjected to furloughs, layoffs, increased health care costs, decreased benefits - we cannot afford a mandatory service fee as a condition of serving the state.

Marilyn J. Miller, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Classified Employees Association Inc.

Sterner sanctions for financial crime

I could not agree more with the writer of "Make an example of peanut magnate" (letters, Feb. 17) that the only way to protect our food chain is to mete out severe prison terms to those who knowingly released tainted food.

And when are we going to see front-page pictures of the corrupt "greed is good" financial wizards in handcuffs?

It is time for white-collar crime to reap what it sows.

Myra Welsh, Cockeysville

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