Two Subjects Only Slightly Related

A July bridge collapse in Jerusalem sent dozens of athletes attending the Maccabiah Games tumbling into the Yarkon River. Two members of the Australian team died nearly immediately from injuries and drowning. Two other victims who fell into the river have now died of lung and kidney complications resulting from the water that entered their lungs. These people did not die of drowning but rather from massive infections caused by the pollutants present in the water. Some are blaming an insecticide sprayed on the river the day before while others, most notably the manufacturer of the chemical pesticide, fault the huge amounts of petroleum, raw sewage, fertilizer run-off and the many other chemicals normally deposited in Israel's rivers and streams.

It might be noted, also, that the current right wing take-over of the Israeli government voted to remove all funding for their version of the Environmental Protection Agency. What was and is one of our right wing government's prime desires? Why, to dismantle our EPA. It seems that they can endure entire species that become extinct, rivers that explode into flames, children born with massive birth defects due to chemicals and other pollutants in the air, water and food supply of their mothers and athletes who die from contacting open water supplies. Of course, the vast majority of those far right politicians who are so supportive of the destruction of the EPA are millionaires who can afford the cost of cleaning up their own food and water supplies. Just as long as they can make government "smaller", they seem to be happy, no matter the resulting horrors perpetrated on the average American.

As for those of you who truly hate unions and are taking that spite out on the UPS employees who are on strike, a little information as to why they are going without pay or benefits and walking the sidewalk, instead.

The average hourly pay of the full time employees is $19.95 plus benefits. Of the 40,000 part-time jobs that UPS has already created and the 50,000 more that are planned, fully 80% carry zero benefits and an hourly wage of $9. Difference in the duties of these full-time versus part-time positions is exactly none. The only difference is that the part-time employee not only must work just as hard as a full-time employee but have absolutely no protection from the unilateral actions of an acknowledged leader in the art of punishing their employees who try to stand up for their legal rights.

1996 revenues for UPS at the current cost of labor? Only $22.4 billion dollars. Cost of senior management wages and perks? "Proprietary information" according to a UPS source.

Another issue that caused the walk-out was UPS's demand that they cease participating in the Teamster's Pension Plan and open one exclusively for UPS employees. This, UPS claims, will increase safety and raise the retirement payoffs by 50%. As an aside not reported in any of the "liberal" news media, during the Republican Congress' attempt to legalize the corporate theft of "excess" pension funds, UPS was one of the prime players in that fiasco (as reported here late last year). Of course they want the pensions funds brought back under their control; they won't be able to steal from their employee's retirement funds if the measure slithers through next time and if the Teamsters retain control. Sounds just a tad like another filthy, right wing tactic?

For those low-lifes out there who proclaim your willingness to take these union member's jobs at half of their wages and no benefits, you will have your precious job only until UPS finds a way to hire even cheaper labor, then someone else will steal your jobs from you. The time must soon come when the American people understand that stealing the job of another is exactly the game Corporate America enjoys watching you play. No matter how many jobs you steal or are stolen from you, you are simply making the profit margins of obscenely wealthy corporations even richer while you get poorer and poorer. This entertainment for the wealthy has been going on ever since Reagan's "Revolution" (read sell-out of the American family and worker) made down-sizing a respectable action rather than the despicable meanness and manipulation for more and more money that it is actually is. Serves you right. Problem is, those who refuse to be that vile to other human beings don't deserve to be treated like you so happily accept and probably deserve.

Sadly, as a retired woman said regarding the strikers, "I never had the protection and wages and all of this that these slime balls have. Why should they get all of that?" More selfish and self-centered and idiotic words have seldom been spoken.

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Copyright 8/21/97