Union Democrat staff

Know It All thanks

To the Editor:

Kudos to Sheila Rosen for her in-depth "Know It All" publication. It is extremely well-written and contains so much information that I keep it as a reference book for the entire year.

Thanks Sheila for a job well done.

Marjorie A. Jones


Labor Day reminder

To the Editor:

Labor Day was made a holiday after bitter struggles that pitted big business against workers seeking better wages and working conditions. The social and economic stability of our nation was threatened before unions were allowed to organize workers and their struggles led to a healthy middle class in America. Labor unions also benefited non-union workers as a higher standard was set for livable wages and conditions.

By 1974, 75 percent of manufacturing jobs were represented by unions. With the changing political and economic changes since, only 25 percent were represented by 2009. Only the public sector has seen an increase in union representation and in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, public workers are under attack for their right to collective bargaining.

As unions lost members, as jobs disappeared offshore, the changing nature and security of the middle class was in question. From 1980 to 2009, the GDP of the U.S. increased by 67 percent while the real median income of a U.S. household grew by only 15 percent. Productivity was up bringing big business and corporations enormous gains overall, while the true purchasing power of the citizenry shrank. From 2008 to 2009 the median household income in the U.S. went from $50,112 to $49,777.

We as a nation are seeing a growing wealth disparity that prior generations fought against to achieve a secure society.

Labor Day should remind us all of the gains made by those who sacrificed much generations ago. We should carry that responsibility forward, for as we've seen, political and corporate interests are uninterested in the middle class struggle for survival.

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte

Rural Fire Tax

To the Editor:

The state wants to charge property owners in rural areas an additional $150 for fire protection we already pay for with our tax dollars. I would like to see the state inspect properties in rural areas and fine those who are out of compliance. I, like so many of my neighbors in Calaveras County, make an effort every fire season to give my house defensible space. Why should we have to pay for the ones who don't? P.S. Does this mean I get a rebate on my E.P.F.D. charge that is tacked on to my county tax?

Peter Meienchek

Hathaway Pines