Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


December 16, 2012

In Your View

ASHLAND — Law gives workers right to earn keep

This is in response to the  comments by Terry Sexton in the Wednesday, Dec. 12, Independent about Michigan’s new the right to work law.

When I was 17 and living in eastern Kentucky, there were very few jobs and most young people headed north to find work. When I got to Cleveland, Ohio, I wanted the right to work. I met a personnel manager who was from this area. She hired me for a factory job. After a probationary period, I ended up in the United Mine Workers union but I worked for the Sherwin-Williams Co.

To really get ahead, I needed more education. I found out that either union or non-union employees could go to college free. This company paid tuition and books and all the employee had to do was maintain a C average. This was company policy not negotiated.

I worked for that company for 20 years and ended up as packaging manager. As I was leaving to take a management job back Kentucky, a union officer asked if I ever missed having the backing of the union. Not at all, I said. I was willing to work as an individual and prove I could make the company more money than they were paying me.

Now 73, I worked for 46 years. I always felt like I made a good living wage. In response to Terry's stack of papers being harder to tear than a single sheet, I can spot one mediocre person who needs the rest of the stack. I personally like individuals who will earn their way; so do both companies and unions.

The law that was passed gives each employee the right to get a job, earn his keep and make his own decisions. This law has nothing to do with hindering negotiations for wages and benefits.

Robert H. Williams, Cannonsburg

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