Hey, Verizon, let the workers decide

On June 19, there was a demonstration of about 50 union members in front of the Verizon Wireless building in Tampa, Fla. Verizon has said it does not want its wireless workers organized into a union, and the unions hold up this company as an example of why the Employee Free Choice Act needs to be passed by Congress. It should be up to the workers to decide.

Public reaction to the sign-wavers supported labor’s statement that most workers in the country would join unions if given a chance. Honking horns, waving hands and thumbs up were a constant from passers-by. One driver came back by and tossed out a note pad with the words “Go Union” written inside.

As we were going to our cars, a mother with her child in the car stopped and asked what was going on with Verizon Wireless. When told, she responded, “Oh, I like unions. Everyone in the country should have a union.”

John Streater
Tampa FL

Job well done

I recently read an article about a man performing the plumbing inspection on Trump’s Taj Mahal project (“Buried alive: a terrible way to die” by Richard Neill, PWW 6/9-15). I am very happy that this man had the insight to fight for what he believed in. He believed that OSHA’s regulations should go hand in hand with the plumbing code. Also, he felt it necessary to inform the higher-ups and his fellow workers of the seriousness of the situation. I applaud this man for what he has done. Good job. Well done.

Bradford Coenen
Monroe LA

Diabetes and Cuba

Recently I read about Citoprot P, a medication developed in Cuba that helps people with diabetic feet, called neuropathy, a condition with which I suffered even before I learned I am diabetic. I have written to Bush and my congresspeople hoping that they would lift the blockade of products from Cuba. Citoprot P has helped prevent problems caused by diabetes — even helped prevent operations on people’s feet which cause so much pain and suffering.

I am urging anyone who reads this letter to look into this and write the president who then cannot say he doesn’t know about it, and to your congresspeople, who are much more likely to consider voting to lift the blockade against products developed in Cuba, so we can check this out.

Irene Hull
Seattle WA

CIA exposed

I am glad that information about some of the CIA’s illegal, unethical and immoral activities are being released. Of course, this information isn’t new. But maybe it will enlighten people who are ignorant (or forgetful) of history. Hopefully those people who are willing to give up their human rights, privacy and civil liberties will think twice when they hear of these past abuses.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro NC

Stop predatory lending

On June 6, ACORN, a group dedicated to fight for housing for low- and moderate-income tenants and homeowners, protested outside of the Federal Reserve building here. ACORN had decided to fight predatory lending. They called on the Federal Reserve Bank to stop the mortgage industry and the banks from lending money at usurious rates.

They wanted an end to the practice of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) milking the incomes of poor and moderate-income homeowners. They felt that a person was dealt an unfair blow when lenders simply based their mortgagees on unrealistic increases in income and high interests and penalties. ARMs earned over $1 trillion for the banks and mortgage companies but caused 1.2 million foreclosures in a single year.

The cost in human pain and suffering is immeasurable. In addition to ACORN, Community Legal Services has vowed to fight foreclosures and predatory lending in the Philadelphia area. And the NAACP has called for a national moratorium on foreclosures.

Karamo Machuri Sulieman
Philadelphia PA

Ontario’s electoral reform

The article “Voters in Ontario, Canada, mull electoral reform” (PWW 6/16-22) laments the 3 percent threshold for election and says the Green Party is the only new party likely to win seats under the new system.

The assumption being made is that people will vote the same way under the new system as they did under the old. That is not a valid assumption. Under the winner-take-all voting system, the two major parties enjoy a “no choice bonus.” No one wants to waste their vote, so they cast it for one or other of the two big parties.

The MMP system makes such behavior completely obsolete. Many more voters will decide to give their party vote to a minor party they favor because they know it will count toward representation if that party makes the 3 percent threshold.

If there are new parties arising that can capture the imagination and hopes of enough voters, they will win seats under the MMP voting system.

Steve Withers
Ontario, Canada

Voting rights

Yes, yes, yes!!! Paper ballots. As simple as possible, hand countable, optical scanner readable and each ballot “cluster” of votes posted on the Internet by “secret ballot” number (random, pre-printed), copy goes home with voter. This would make every voter a potential auditor. I’d check, wouldn’t you?

The ballot number would not be a secrecy breach if only the voter saw it. Optical scanners can easily handle this. A sample ballot given to optical scanner reps at the election authority dog-and-pony show to “get local voter input” on methods being considered confirmed this seven years ago.

Of course one was already chosen for statewide use by the powers-that-be. Picture thumb and index finger rubbing together…? The winner was the “cool” high-tech touch screen. Which at the last election led to … well, it was in the news.

The very doable technique proposed could be called EVE for “every vote ensured.” Nice ring to it. Maybe we can even add ADAM for “access directly at matrix”? Together EVE and ADAM for every vote ensured by access directly at matrix? Hmmm.

Bill Ramsay
Grand Junction CO