Letter: Dylan Grimes, Leesburg

Editor: I am writing in response to the article titled “Unions Rally for Bargaining Rights at Loudoun Gov’t Center,” published in your newspaper on 10/14/21. I was delighted to see that the paper did not paint the unions’ rally in a negative light. 

The immense growth of individualism in the United States has contributed to a decreased participation in unions, as workers alienate themselves from their community. This demonstration reaffirmed the belief that individuals of various backgrounds in the United States can still band together under a common theme. The idea that various differing unions and organizations, such as NAACP, AFL-CIO, and Catholic Labor Network, co-exist under one idea should not be understated. These groups each contain their own agenda; however, their members’ shared experiences contributed to their presence at the rally. Many of the members are connected through their experiences of mistreatment as public employees. 

Additionally, the article’s keen inclusion of the deeper reasoning behind collective bargaining was imperative. Patti Nelson, former Loudoun SEIU Chapter president, vocalized that the “American Dream” does not apply to our society today. Individuals are told that “if you work hard, good things will happen,” but often, that is not the case. Forces out of ones’ control have a stark impact on ones’ career options. It is these constrained choices that contribute to the lack of voice found in the workforce. It is the unions’ job to give a voice back, which is why I am delighted to see them doing just that.

Dylan Grimes, Leesburg

4 thoughts on “Letter: Dylan Grimes, Leesburg

  • 2021-10-20 at 7:48 am
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    I read your note multiple times looking for causality and logic. Sell the sizzle is the marketing slang for pushing an agenda without promising steak quality. In my experience working at GM in the early 70’s hearing about the sit down strikes of 1937 and then visiting Flint, Michigan recently to see all the plants gone with cement to keep the poisoned ground from leaching into the water supply there is a simple message. To unionize or not unionize depends on the marginal utility of doing so. In 1937 the abuses of the auto companies was so awful it was an easy choice to unionize. After many decades of both corporate abuse and union abuse GM ended up in financial trouble and many of those jobs left the country and the unions didn’t earn their monthly dues either. Now what I am trying to get at is for someone to lay out the pros and cons of unionizing our local government employment base. Instead of posting rhetorical go along to get along concepts how about itemizing what is bad and what can be offered to improve both working conditions and efficiency of operations. Efficiency AND fair working conditions must both be valued and emphasized in my experience or else it is just taking. 🙂

  • 2021-10-20 at 9:06 am
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    Unions aren’t something to be feared. Of course there’s bad in any organization. For example, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was shady. Its president Jimmy Hoffa associated with organized crime figures. In 1967, Mr. Hoffa went to prison for jury tampering, attempted bribery, conspiracy and mail & wire fraud. Freed in 1971, he disappeared four years later & presumably is dead. But laws have been instituted to rein in unions. Today, they’re known to improve workplace conditions & the productivity of workers. I hope Loudoun County helps pave the way for the southeast to fully embrace unions.

  • 2021-10-20 at 11:20 am
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    To the letter writer:

    Please list three (3) quantifiable and verifiable benefits which will accrue to the residents and taxpayers of Loudoun as a DIRECT RESULT of the unionization of county employees.

    I’ve been posing this request for months. I’m yet to see even a single benefit offered. I’m hoping you can do it!

  • 2021-10-20 at 2:23 pm
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    Bob – here is what is good about unions. In the early days they pushed for employee safety. That task is now the responsibility of OSHA.

    They push for wage standards and ensure employees were paid properly for overtime hours. That’s now the responsibility of the Dept of Labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    The ensure that employees could discuss and compare wages, working conditions and supervisor treatment of employees. That National Labor Relations Board now does that.

    They guaranteed employees would get paid sick leave. President Obama did that by Executive Order for government employees, government contractor employees and many states have followed suit.

    The negatives of a union include members paying them to do the same thing their tax dollars are paying the government employees to do.

    Corruption as Tim pointed out, but implied no longer exist which is laughable considering many senior officers of the UAW indicted a few years ago.

    Protect for the incapable and lazy. This is not to say all union workers fall into that category but that sure are a lot.

    Increased cost to tax payers / consumers. The wages can be argued from here to eternity but the hidden cost includes CBA negotiations, contract compliance, threats of and actual frivilous arbitrations and defense of Unfair Labor Practice charges.

    Were unions necessary in the day – YES. Are they necessary now – NO. It’s like the Giants keeping and paying Eli Manning long after they should have simply because he won 2 superbowls back in his career.

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