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I was very disappointed to read Joe Klein's analysis of Governor Scott Walker's union bashing in Wisconsin--and I always agree with Joe ["As Goes Wisconsin ... So Goes the Nation," March 7]. I'm sorry, but if there are instances of public-employee unions' abusing their "power," they are inconsequential compared with the abuse of power that the tea baggers and their corporate masters (the Koch brothers' being exhibit No. 1) are prepared to inflict on the middle class. If the Koch brothers get their way in Wisconsin, the middle class will not exist, and Democrats will lose one of their strongest allies. I'm a union member in the private sector. At 29 years of service, I was fired by a new batch of bosses. I got my job back; the union paid for the attorney who helped me. The bosses, who were getting ready to fire several other people before I won my case, were shown the door. Unions are far from perfect. At times I feel my union leaders are incompetent. But unions are a crucial counterbalance to unbridled capitalism. If they are gutted, violence may be necessary in the future to refight the same battles we thought we'd won.
Bill Barmettler, CHEHALIS, WASH.
Klein says, "Clearly, there needs to be a rebalancing of pension and health care benefits that puts public employees more in line with ... the private sector." Clearly? I think if you were to reverse the order, there would be more clarity. Private-sector pension and health care benefits have eroded, and that calls for improvement, not for the public sector to follow suit.
Loretta Henry, WILLOW GROVE, PA.
Klein did not go far enough. Unions shook up American industry to provide American labor what it was entitled to. But in the public sector, unions took advantage of government by obtaining benefits for their members beyond what is fair and reasonable, and they have also taken advantage of their members by using their dues largely for political gain.
John Talerico, MIDDLETOWN, N.J.
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