Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
September 10, 2013
County levy needed
to provide services
I support the Polk County Board of Commissioners' request for a four-year tax levy to provide funds to restore positions and services in the county's four public safety departments.
Presently, basic services are not being adequately provided. The prolonged absence of adequate funding and protection will only degrade our local quality of life and embolden more lawbreakers to make Polk County their base of operations.
Finally, I want to express my appreciation to all the county employees who labor to provide valued services to the citizens of Polk County.
Strike against OUS
may be next step
"To strike or not to strike?" is the question faced by classified workers providing front-line support for teachers, students and administration at the seven schools in the Oregon University System (OUS).
I am a classified worker and I ask myself, "Can I afford to strike? Can I afford not to?"
This year our union asked for very little; one request was that OUS bring the base income of classified workers up to the federally recognized poverty level for a family of four. According to surveys, a large percentage of classified workers must rely on food stamps. Most classified positions require a degree. It's ironic that the support staff with degrees live at the poverty level while the students we serve incur lifelong indebtedness to earn degrees.
Classified workers, faculty and students unified strategies for OUS to meet economic challenges without detriment to students and staff. OUS's proposals were: to eliminate overtime and comp time for many employees, double our premiums for health insurance, eliminate transfers to equivalent positions in case of layoffs, deny promotion opportunities, trade cost of living raises for a "one-time bonus" that leaves senior workers ineligible, and deny the request for justification when outsourcing our jobs.
Negotiations started in February and OUS did not modify its proposals until August. Currently, the worst of its proposals has been taken off the table and we were offered a minimal raise that is well below the rate of inflation.
Must we strike for an acceptable contract? Every two years we make concessions by accepting the least damaging offers. Must we fight for job security every time we renew our contract and continue to feed our kids with food stamps?
We haven't had a strike in OUS for almost 20 years. Maybe it's time.
US Postal Service
So many mixed messages are being thrown around regarding the U.S. Postal Service that it is time for the truth to be told. Here are some important facts about the postal service that the mainstream media will not tell you.
The Postal Service's latest quarterly report makes clear that its finances are rebounding strongly as the U.S. economy improves. Although it reported a loss of $740 million, the agency would have reported a profit of $660 million absent the $1.4 billion payment it was charged for pre-funding future retiree health benefits -- a bill no other company or agency in the country is required to pay. Operating revenue is up 3.6 percent compared to the same period last year.
That good operating picture was fueled by a sharp 8.8 percent rise in package delivery revenue from online orders, which offset the effect of online bill paying, as well as by workers compensation interest adjustments.
Given this, it makes no sense to degrade service or dismantle a network that is performing well and that provides Americans and businesses with the world's most affordable delivery network.
The path to profitability is clear: Address the pre-funding fiasco and give the U.S. Postal Service the freedom to innovate and grow in the digital era.
Do not eliminate Saturday delivery, which would raise costs for small businesses open weekends, and do not force people to traipse around the neighborhood looking for cluster boxes. Such steps would inconvenience the public and would destroy the postal service by driving mail and revenue out of the system.
David C. MacAdam
President, NALC Branch 2296
School support is
The Eola Hills Charter School, formally known as Ballston Community School, would like to recognize and thank all of the many community sponsors and community members that helped to beautify our school.
The school is located at 7575 Bethel Road in Rickreall and the property is one of the first college sites in Oregon.
We would like to give special thanks to Sherman-Williams in Keizer, James Davis Construction, United Rental, school staff and parents, and community members. Without all your selfless dedication to this huge project we never would have been able to accomplish our goals.
Amberly Van Winkle
Unions are fighting
for the middle class
Steve Buckstein of the Cascade Policy Institute claims to care about our freedom to keep our own money ("Oregonians deserve employment freedom," Sept. 4 Itemizer-Observer).
So, then, why is he wasting our tax dollars in court trying to get a petition approved so that he can force us to spend even more tax dollars to put an unnecessary law on our ballot, and then even more tax dollars to defend the court challenges from Public Employee Union members who don't want his help?
He says the new law is needed so that public employees won't have to spend their money paying dues for political purposes. There is already a federal law that allows union members to opt out of paying for union political activity. And if public employees don't want to belong to a union, there's already a state law that allows them to decertify.
So, what exactly is the real motive behind Mr. Buckstein's proposed new law? Pure and simple, he and his group want to destroy unions by bankrupting them. Other states, such as Idaho and Nevada, have "Right to Work (for less)" laws. Those laws allow people to work as nonmembers in a union shop, enjoy all of the benefits that the union negotiates, and not pay one dime for those negotiations. Those people are freeloaders, devoid of moral character. And by freeloading, they are a drain on the limited resources that unions have for collective bargaining and defending workers' rights.
Let's be perfectly clear: Unions are one of the only organizations fighting back against the total destruction of America's middle class. The workplace democracy provided by unions limits the inherent dictatorial power of management. Without unions, we are at the mercy of corporate America, and the past four years are proof just how much they care about you.
Pop Warner group
made event a hit
Dallas Pop Warner football put on a flawless Punt Pass and Kick fundraiser and scrimmage Saturday and Sunday at Dallas High School.
Our Dallas Pop Warner board of directors put together one of the biggest fundraisers for Mid-Valley Pop Warner. Dallas board members Andy Frazier, Tim Nelson, Dave Brautigam and Shelli Miller organized the event with the help of DHS football players, Pop Warner parents and the Dallas Quarterback Club.
The two-day event was awesome. Some 64 teams and more than 1,000 players came to Dallas High School for the event. As a coach, it was a pleasure to have an event so well organized. This event is why we have high quality football gear every year in Pop Warner.
Andy, Tim and Shelli were at the field the whole weekend (about 26 hours). I saw several local businesses also pitching in, including Limeberry, Domino's and Taco Peco.
Thank you, Pop Warner.