Where have all the workers gone?

Back in the 1990s I worked for a company that made machinery used by injection molding outfits. My job was to travel around the country installing and repairing that equipment at the customer’s plant.

One plant I worked at quite often was a GM plant in Adrian, Mich. It was one of those places where if you looked down a main aisle the end could hardly be seen. Supervisors ran around on Cushman scooters and the workers got around on three-wheel bicycles with a box on the back to carry the tools of their trade.

Hundreds of workers getting good wages and benefits kept the place humming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I enjoyed going there! Working with the various trades (pipefitters, electricians, machine repair, tool and die, machinists and even carpenters) to get the job going was rarely boring. And always fun, as anyone who ever worked in a big union shop knows.

One day, after being elsewhere for a few weeks, I walked in and noticed banners and literature announcing the plant was being reorganized and would be now known as Delphi.

GM was spinning the place off its books telling the workers they were going to come out of the transition smelling like a rose. Their jobs would be safe with the additional customers they would be getting.

I was telling anybody and everybody to watch out. GM was coming after them and their UAW contract.

I quit that job in 1999, so I don’t know the day-to-day story of how it happened, but the plant no longer exists.

At times I wonder what happened to all those good, hard-working folks?

And I worry. Because I recently learned, while browsing the Internet, that Lenawee County is building a new and bigger county jail in Adrian.

Bill Appelhans

Chicago IL

OSHA remembers fallen workers

Steve Sallman of the United Steelworkers Health, Safety & Environment Department wrote me that while attending a meeting at the Department of Labor-OSHA in Washington D.C., he saw in the main conference room 15 photos on the wall, including my brother Gary Puleio. It was Steve’s understanding that Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, directed his staff to hang up pictures in the building of workers who had lost their lives on the job and to remind them why workers need a strong OSHA.

My family and I are grateful for the efforts of Jordan and people like Steve who continue the fight for workers’ safety. I take solace in the fact that regulatory agencies are now headed by people, such as Hilda Solis and Jordan, who put workers first and not corporations.

I will forward this to all my relatives and post it on the blog I created about Gary http://garypuleio.blogspot.com. I am looking forward to 2010 Workers Memorial Day.

In solidarity,

Donna Vincene Puleio

Via e-mail

Nobel Peace Prize

Not only President Obama needs the Nobel Peace Prize this year, but also the world needs it in Obama’s hands. Once again this prize has a very noble and important objective as its creator, Alfred Nobel, proposed:

“To the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congress.” (Paris 27, 1895)

Let’s not forget about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about the coup d’etat in Honduras, U.S. prisons around the world and schools of torture, as SOA. There are even more important issues to be dealt with for peace, as the reduction (it should be elimination) of nuclear weapons. All those projects are in Obama’s promises since his presidential campaign. Up to now, these promises have been dealt with only in talking.

In accepting the Nobel Prize Obama is pledging to accomplish it all. He is the only person in the world who can begin the diplomacy of peace making. He has the understanding and needs the power to do it. The Nobel Peace Prize, the watch of the world and the people who wish for world peace will make sure he will do it, even against the U.S. war and nuclear mongers! I welcome the Nobel Peace Prize for President Barack Obama.

Teresinka Pereira

Via e-mail

Teresinka Pereira is president of International Writers and Artists Association.

Four out of five dentists… eat Halloween candy!

It’s that time of year – when kids dress up in costumes and prowl the neighborhood for candy. Less well known is news from a recent poll of dentists that reveals they regularly sneak candy from their kids’ bags!

With candy everywhere, even the most steel-willed can be tempted to overindulge. In our survey, 80 percent of dentists with children at home ‘fessed up to sneaking candy from their children’s Halloween bag.

Adding to that temptation are aisles of candy invading stores before kids have returned to school. Half of our dentists surveyed say that they buy too much candy at Halloween. Here are top tips from dentists for overcoming temptation during Halloween:

  • Buy candy you don’t like.
  • Keep the candy hidden until the big day.
  • Get rid of leftovers.
  • Give out something other than candy. While most dentists surveyed said they will be giving out candy this year, non-edible items, like crayons, stickers, glow sticks are other options.

Keep up a good oral health care regimen at home. Brush your teeth after eating candy (or at the very least, rinse with water), in addition to your regular brushing and flossing.

The Chicago Dental Society will be helping Chicagoans with that last piece of advice by handing out toothbrushes and toothpaste to trick-or-treaters at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Spooky Zoo on Sat., Oct. 24.

Chris Martin

Chicago IL

Chris Martin is a PR consultant for the Chicago Dental Society.