I’m writing in response to Lou Marra’s letter on unions being a “haven for incompetence”. First I have to address the fact that his accusations against a nurse’s aide come as a third party as he says, “According to a co-worker”. He then goes on to say (the aide) “spends most of her time on break”. A statement I find hard to believe.

Even if Mr. Marra’s statements are true, while I appreciate his use of the expression “some unions”, to be fair I think what should have been said was “some union members”. Just as some people will pick up a lost wallet take the money, possibly use the credit cards and throw away the rest, others will pick up that same wallet and do everything they can to return it to its rightful owner. In the same respect, some people will take advantage of a situation while others take advantage of an opportunity. There are thousands of union members across the country. Most are appreciative, hard working people who care greatly about their jobs. Being an “incompetent gold brick” has less to do with whether you are affiliated with a union or not and more to do with your personality. As an active member of 42 years in a building trades union, I can say, due to our well trained, highly skilled and available work force, we are able to execute jobs of all sizes in both a timely and professional manor.

Just as our systems of democracy and free enterprise don’t always produce the outcome we hope for, unions may not be perfect. But they have been, and continue to be, the best answer to unfair, or at times unsafe mandates by a superior or an employer. They are part of a “checks and balances system” in conjunction with corporate America that I feel is a necessity. A part of that system is economically basic; generally, the more demand for work, the more advancement can be made for the workforce by way of contract agreements. Less demand means little or no advancements or sometimes, concessions. So, while there will always be a few “bad apples” in any walk of life, I believe unions are still our only real representation for middle class and working class Americans.

Tom Boczkowski


Member, Steamfitters Union #449

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