Hotel workers deserve insurance

I would like to inform the public about the Holiday Inn Capitol in Old Sacramento. The problem is many of the workers are at risk of losing health insurance because the Holiday Inn is proposing to double the number of hours that we have to work to be covered. That could mean no insurance for many workers, especially those in the restaurant and at banquets. They’re even proposing to take away Labor Day as a paid holiday.

We work hard and we deserve better. I work right by the Holiday Inn and I see a lot of people stay there. But if it wasn’t for the workers, there wouldn’t be a hotel. The workers deserve health insurance. The public needs to know what’s going on. There were a couple of protests, but I feel more people need to know what’s going on.

Stop staying at that place where the workers are not treated right. They deserve health insurance.

Mautuse Myles
Sacramento CA

Disaster contract

The new contract negotiated between the UAW and GM is a gut wrenching sellout. I was glad to see some reader indignation with your coverage of the issue on your letters to the editor page.

In the ’80s, when I still read The New York Times, I saw a story titled “Tragic Saga of a Steel Worker” accompanied by a picture of the worker himself. I had worked in the plant in question long, long before, and had grown up with the man. He had become head of the local — 20,000 strong — and had counseled his men to trust management’s promise to stay if the workers agreed to the concessions demanded. The local voted in favor of the contract, the plant was closed, he lost his job, his wife divorced him, and his son was killed in an auto accident.

I stopped reading the Times 20 years ago because it raised expectations of truth and courage in its reporting that it never fulfilled.

Your reporting of the UAW story, as one of your readers said in his letter, was bad. The negotiations were held in secret behind the backs of the membership. Two-tier and VEBA were already known as disastrous to the workers in plants where they had been agreed to. And here again, the company’s word is taken on trust — with loopholes big enough to drive an SUV through.

One of your readers says in his letter that it crossed his mind to cancel his sub. Well, it crossed mine too.

Pete Gourfain
Brooklyn NY

Better coverage

It’s been interesting to see the development of your auto coverage over the past weeks. I know that first article in the wake of the GM strike, “Autoworkers buoyed by solidarity” (PWW 9/29-10/5), just included a roundup of press reports on what the GM-UAW agreement without any reaction from autoworkers. But then as your coverage proceeded and you got more reactions from GM — and Chrysler workers — then the outrage and problems of two-tier and VEBA were clearly reported.

You also put the two-tier system from that Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Ill., as a canary in the coal mine for the autoworkers way back in the summer by going there and talking to the workers, too. (“Auto union fights for ‘American way of life,’” PWW 7/28-8/3).

Paula Michaels
Mishawaka IN

Public interest reporting on health care

That was a good article “Supporters rally for universal care” (PWW 10/6-12). It seems to me one of the biggest hopes we have is in the journalists — especially getting stuff somehow into the mainstream media and repeatedly making three points clearly to the public:

1. If they think government creates a bureaucracy, they should look at how much money is being wasted by the health insurance companies and their efforts to deny payments for treatment, and how much the administration of health care costs when administered by private companies as compared to those administered by Medicare.

2. The difficulty people have getting preventive care with health insurance companies is one of the main reasons behind the spiraling health care costs in the United States.

3. Those who are happy with their insurance are often happy because they don’t realize the liabilities it carries.

Thanks again for the article.

Michael Paransky
Laguna Beach CA

Climate chaos and capitalism

Mark Brodine’s column, “Gore, global warming and the whole damn thing,” was followed by an article in the Oct. 26 edition of The New York Times, headlined “UN warns of rapid decay of environment.” The UN report, as reported, agreed with Brodine in many ways in that it warned of a coming breakdown of our planet’s environment from multiple problems. But as Brodine pointed out in his column, the reasons causing this approaching breakdown were listed as “population growth” and “unsustainable consumption” patterns by the earth’s existing population, without mentioning the role of the capitalist system. Yet the executive director of the UN’s Environment Program was quoted as saying, “The more realistic, ethical and practical issue is to accelerate human well-being and make more rational use of the resources we have on this planet.”

Exactly what socialism would bring to world! I look to forward to further discussion of environmental issues from a socialist perspective.

Blair Bertaccini
Waterbury CT

Mortgage crisis and dialectics

The home mortgage crisis is a classic case of Marxist dialectical principle of “appearance and essence.” It is reported by the media that it is the poor who are the cause of the collapse of the subprime lenders, resulting in the contagion in the banking industry. Yet the essence of the problem is the insatiable greed of the homebuilding monopolies driving the ever-increasing prices up, taking profits for the capitalist class every step of the way.

The working class is driven to get in before it gets more prohibitive to buy — to buy low and sell high, taking your equity as money in the bank, building the illusion of wealth until the collapse of the housing prices. It’s when you can’t make enough on a salary or wage that you get the notion of a scheme like buying into the capitalist ploy of get rich quick on your housing investment. Somewhere, the equity has to be shouldered by someone down the pyramid.

Let’s think of a new way to build communities where housing is not a form of feeding frenzy. By the way, let’s not just get mad with the oil companies, and the media monopolies and the health insurance monopolies Capitalism is thriving in the loan shark industry, as well as with the big-time homebuilders.

Rob McElwain
Phoenix AZ