Regarding a recent letter, "Unions often work against country’s economic progress": 

As a proud member of U.A. Plumbers & Pipefitters local #198 Baton Rouge, I felt the need to responded to Jesse Pitre’s letter. Pitre’s rambling diatribe of false and misleading statements are nothing more than union-bashing and Trump 2020 campaign fact-free talking points. Pitre wrote, “Unions have outlived their usefulness and are a financial drain on the poor.”

Local #198 as well as all the building trade unions offer free on-the-job training and a five-year apprenticeship that once completed is good for college credit in trade-related degrees and a marketable trade to start a business — all with zero student debit. Let me also bring up family health insurance, a defined pension, 401k and forged friendships that are lifelong, just as the pension plan. This equal opportunity is offered by all the building trade unions regardless of race, religion or gender.

This union opportunity sounds more useful to this poor boy than selling nails, ear plugs and safety glasses. Our union leaders work for us every day, and just in case they decide not to, we vote them out.

Letters: Unions often work against economic progress

Our union and other unions do make political endorsements and contributions, and they are authorized to do so by a majority of members. Endorsements and contributions are made to candidates who are willing to offer labor leaders a seat at the table to express not only union members' issues but issues that help union and non-union workers.

As a member whose livelihood depends on the laws that these politicians are going to make, what could be more important than voting for someone who is going to give my leadership a seat at the table? My vote is not made on the wedge issues that Pitre listed in his letter. I vote on bread and butter issues that affect working men and women. I don’t belong to any political party.

Why would I not vote for labor-endorsed candidates when I’m a member of labor?

As far as Green Energy being a job killer, to Pitre I say, I enjoyed living in the 20th century, but that ended 20 years ago.

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Coal and other fossil fuels are on their last legs. In 2015, the number of clean energy jobs surpassed the number of oil-drilling jobs. Neither Donald Trump nor anyone else is going to save them. Green energy is the future. Good luck to Pitre as he parties like it’s 1999.

Unions are needed now more than ever with the new green and gig economy. 

Michael D. Day

union pipefitter

Baton Rouge