Union members, don’t buy the guilt

Union members, don’t buy the guilt
Date June 11, 2004
Section(s) Opinion
To the Editor:

Surely I am not the only person in this town quite literally fed up with being held hostage by Maytag. They have kept their union employees and this town dangling over the edge of a cliff for years. Isn’t it obvious by now that no concessions by these employees or favors from the city have been or will be enough?

These lay-offs and “news releases” of late — fed to us like doses of poison — had the expected effect of fear and panic. OK, we’re afraid. Of what… dying a slow death? Or of what is already dead?

It is humiliating to be treated like this. It’s shameful to be treated like powerless peons and it is more shameful to continue in this abusive entrapment.

Make one final concession… let them go if they so choose. They will anyway after they’ve chiseled us down to nothing. If they are not going to do right by us, we have to do right by ourselves. Conceding everything it took the last 50 years to achieve can’t be the answer.

Union members, do not buy into the guilt. It is not your responsibility to resolve a contract to your detriment in order to be heroes and saviors of Maytag and the City of Newton. We’ve been down that road.

I agree things are changing, but do not allow yourselves to be scapegoated. I agree we need to adapt. You can adapt to mistreatment, which tends to worsen, as we’ve already seen, or you can adapt to taking a stand for what is right and move on.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the city got behind us for a change instead of going along with Maytag‘s tactics?

We are the oppressed here, not the oppressors. We must believe we can attract something better to ourselves, personally and as a community, if for no other reason than our sheer will and guts. If not, then maybe it’s time we all throw in the towel.

Billie Burk



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