The union helped workers

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By The Staff

I am a bit dismayed with all of the stories in this paper concerning the labor dispute at OVACO this past year. Most of the interviews done recently were with Mr. Horn, an employee of 5 1/2 years. I wonder why no one bothered to talk to the ones who have been with this company for 25-plus years. There are a lot of workers with 30 years and counting. These are the people who could really tell you the true conditions that have come about within the last few years at this factory and stand to worsen in the future.

Yes, the union was voted out, but I guess a lot of people would vote no if you were told your job may fold if the union was voted in. Everybody wants to complain and ask what will the Steelworkers do for you other than take your money for dues. Everyone seems to forget who paid the mortgages, car payments, and utilities for the ones on strike and never expected to regain all of that money. And believe me, it was well into the six figure range. Let's talk about the food bank set up to provide families with groceries and diapers for their kids. No, it wasn't fancy or high dollar but it sustained us all very well. Let's talk about the people who came from all over the state to bring new shoes, clothes, and school supplies for all of the kids before school started last year.

I feel qualified to write this and to discuss it because my husband was one of those 30-plus year employees who lost his job last year. For us, it really wasn't that bad because he was about ready to retire anyway. I also know that you can't have your face on the local news, YouTube,the AFL-CIO's website, and even in a Swedish newspaper in support of a cause you truly believe in without losing your job. We were always taught if there was something you really do believe in, that you have to stand up for that cause no matter the consequence. I am sure that we would do it all over again if the need arises.

But don't take the word of a short term person when there are people who have dedicated most of their adult lives to one job. This is something rarely seen in today's fast-paced world. Talk to your neighbors and let them tell you the real story. To all of our friends and former co-workers, we are proud to know you and proud that you stood up for what you believed in no matter the cost.

Pamela Johnson,