Letters to the Editor: Thanks from sugar workers

CrystalSugICON_1_0(This letter was received by Bobby Kasper, president of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation. In addition to donating funds to the locked-out workers’ cause, the RLF organized two holiday drives, collecting more than $50,000 worth of toys, household supplies and cash donations for sugar workers and their families.)

Dear President Bobby Kasper,

We would like to personally thank you for your personal support and for the contributions by unions and individuals to the hardship and action funds that your regional federation organized. We will always be grateful for the hard work you have done, along with our members and their families.

  •  John Riskey, President BCTGM Local 167G
  •  Roger Delage, President BCTGM Local 267G
  •  Gayln Olson, President BCTGM Local 372G

*****

New approach to labor education

The other night I met a few people who found out I was a St. Paul Steamfitter/Pipefitter and proud to be so. A group of people verbally attacked me and told me, “The union I work for does nothing for me and steals money from me in the form of union dues!”

So I sat back and told the group of attackers, in a very polite tone of voice, “I respect your vision and opinion, but I don’t work for a union. I work for a contractor who pays me, and I am represented by the union that I chose to pay minimal dues to.”

I used to get upset and argue with friends and relatives about people’s ignorance on skilled labor and how we earn a wage. I have now learned and like to educate others, that anyone who earns a wage is done so out of an arrangement between two parties. Party No. 1 is the party that pays; party No. 2 is the party that gets paid.

I belong to Party No. 2 and choose, along with my skilled brothers and sisters, to earn wages working for union contractors. These wages are based off a contract that was collectively bargained between our membership and the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, which represents the contractors we work for.

Pauly Strusz, Pipefitters Local 455

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