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Opinion

Sun., March 13, 2011

Union benefits absent

I’m retired after 30 years with Washington State Department of Transportation. Union membership was a condition of employment. I was forced to contribute to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 17. The dues were deducted automatically each month.

I observed the following during my career with the department:

1. Nothing changes regarding the pay and benefits accorded state workers unless the Legislature agrees. The union doesn’t give raises.

2. Our dues were used to support Democratic candidates and issues almost exclusively.

3. The East Side of Washington voted to get out of the union whenever there was a vote.

4. The union spends a good share of its time and resources protecting workers that would be fired in a heartbeat in the private sector.

5. After reaching a certain level within the department, you could opt out of the union. Throughout my career, no one ever stayed in the union once they had the opportunity to leave.

In the private sector, when there’s no work, the job goes away. Get rid of the unions and you can right-size local and state governments to meet the mission of the truly needed agencies.

Erv Koller

Millwood



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