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Letters to the editor stock

Trey Kovacs’ Aug. 25 column decrying workers’ payment of union dues is part of a thinly veiled ploy to weaken unions by encouraging workers to demand services without paying anything for them. His column notably failed to mention the benefits that union membership offers workers.

Union membership brings a tremendous economic advantage to workers, as evidenced by statistics released by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, union members employed in the construction industry earned an average of $1,168 weekly in 2016, 49.7 percent more than the $780 per week for nonunion construction workers.

The reason for this difference is the power of collective bargaining, along with unions’ ability to employ staff to negotiate good wages and benefits for their members. Individuals like Kovacs encourage workers to withhold economic support for unions in an effort to reduce unions’ revenue and weaken their ability to negotiate these good wages and benefits for workers.

Unions are the best weapon against economic inequality, and I hope readers were able to see through Kovacs’ corporate-backed rhetoric, intended to trick workers into acting against their own interests.

David Fagan, financial secretary, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, Portage

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Editor

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.