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Letter: Those paid with public money shouldn’t be able to go on strike

Steve Haycox’s comment “Unionized workers raise level for the whole nation” (Comment, March 8) misses or eludes the point of this city’s efforts, I suspect. I’m not anti-union exactly, nor are most knowledgeable people. Read “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair, a socialist, to understand the positive effect unions have had on labor historically.

Greed and selfishness exist on both sides of the equation, however. My favorite here is the deal unions made with former mayor Begich, leaving the citizens with the bill to pay. Unions in industry are fine; unions in the public sector are not. If you chose to work in the public sector you take public money. What if street maintenance went on strike during a snowstorm? Pay benefits provided by the city exceed many of those in the private sector whose taxes support them. Look at the benefit package, the four-day workweek and other associated costs once rationalized by relatively lower hourly costs. The pendulum swings both ways.

I’m a small businessman out here on my own. People like me create wealth. Government consumes it.

— William Ahrens

Eagle River