Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Email of the Week

Comes from Jim Savage, President of the United Steelworkers Union Local 10-1, which you will find below along with my response.
Mr. Spencer, 
In your Sunday column, you make the statement that "it seems" that the union leadership has not pursued the option of purchasing and running the refineries ourselves. If you question whether or not that is an option that was pursued, I'm really not all that hard to get in touch with. In fact, I was sitting right next to you while you were observing our offending signs that prompted your column. Partisanship can be understood, especially for a columnist who writes often about politics. Laziness, on the other hand, is far less excusable. Have a nice day.
Jim Savage
USW Local 10-1
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Mr. Savage, 

Your reading of my Sunday column does not do it - or you - justice. The portion of it with which you take issue actually read: 

"The workers (of the refineries) have been well represented by their union in so far as their leaders seem to have pursued every avenue possible to keep the plants open. (Every avenue, it seems, short of purchasing and running the refineries themselves.) They have been to Harrisburg and Washington to plead their case and demand action from our elected officials."

That was, more or less, meant as a compliment. Sorry, if I offended you. 

But you are wrong to believe that your "Obama-Biden" campaign signs offended me or "prompted my column." They didn't. I simply found them ironic given of the President's antipathy for the industry in which you work. I thought I was pretty clear about that.

What actually prompted the column was the news that the refineries might actually be purchased and  what I considered to be the intemperate remarks, and unsubstantiated accusations made by union leaders toward Sunoco management. All that, plus the stark contrast between the attitude exhibited by you and your fellow union members and that of a lone business owner who recently saw her own business forced to close down.

I would understand if you were offended by those observations. But my failing to call you to ask about something that was a practical and financial impossibility, not so much.

In any case, I sincerely hope that the refineries will be purchased and will resume operation.

Have a nice day and Nemo Me Impune Lacessit to you too.

UPDATE: Here's another email on the same subject:
To: Gil Spencer
Subject: You know where your bread is buttered
That is about all I can say about your column on the refinery workers.
Except to say you should have had a comma after the word, weeks.
So a small-time capitalist who actually does run a risk loses her dough.
The huge capitalists who run a refinery, how much risk did they run?
I thought as a newspaperman, you would be on the side of the ordinary worker.

Brian Steer

Brian, sounds like you have something against capitalism, small or large. But your so-called "huge capitalists" who run the refinery, are actually not capitalists, in so far as they started a business with their own money. They are nothing more than managers, hired by the owners of the company, the shareholders. You need to learn a little more about how capitalism works. 

As for newspapermen being on the side of the "ordinary worker," I like to think I am on the side of anyone who does a job and does it well. But I don't believe any company owes anyone a job for life. Not even me. 


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October 7, 2014 at 11:02 AM 

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