Can AFL-CIO split create a more flexible workplace?
Regarding the Aug. 1 article on the plight of the big labor unions ("Big labor's split matters - even to nonunion America"): Anyone who has worked at a unionized manufacturing plant would often see an uncooperative working relationship between workers and management. This leads to poor morale regardless of how much money the workers put in their pockets. It also leads to poor results for the factory.
People don't want to work at a plant where mistrust and conflict are a way of life. Most people want a flexible, successful workplace, not a maze of union rules, union bosses, and union-versus- management conflicts.
If the split-up of the AFL-CIO helps to create flexible, workable organizations that can balance the power of the corporations, then unions have a future. Unfortunately, we're hearing the same old rhetoric from the union leaders. The future does indeed look grim for the US union movement.
The July 28 article "Istanbul's isle of diversity" would have benefited from comparison with more typical examples of Turkish interethnic relations. The article might have compared the plight of the (numerically few) Greeks living in Turkey with the relative freedom of the many Turks living in Greece. It might also have sought out commentary from the few Armenians who have faced down Turkish officialdom in order to return to their ancestral homelands in what is now eastern Turkey. In general, practically all sectors of Turkish society aspire for their country to join the European Union. However, not all elements are willing to embrace European values in relation to democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, Western journalism has not emphasized this aspect.
After reading the July 21 column "Inside truths - from outside the box," I am compelled to give my two cents on the matter as an active member of the scientific community. Frankly, the ideas expressed by George Ellis amount to nothing more than postmodernist nonsense. The article states that, "the essential factor in producing the phenomenon of, say, an airplane is the idea of 'airplane' itself." What does this even mean? This in no way contributes to our understanding of how airplanes work, or even why they came about as a result of human ingenuity. Another passage indicates that without some kind of "guidance," physical laws would not produce a bluebird.
This is also nonsense; to cite some unexplained and unexplainable guiding force outside the laws of nature as we understand them is to abandon all scientific principles.
What we as scientists need to look for is not some never-seen-before mystic force driven by human thought, but to challenge the current descriptive models we use today until we find something that fits better - that is all science has ever sought to do.
The wonderful Home Forum/Kidspace tribute to draft horses ("Meet these 'gentle giants,' " Aug. 2) comes on the day we buried the exemplar of their gentle work-willing natures. "Jim," a Belgian draft horse, was close to 40, had been retired from harness for many years of free leisure, and exited life peacefully last evening. He is buried in an old garden plot by our farmhouse.
Some Home Forum readers have come to know him from essays I have written over the years. I am so grateful for this coincidence, which strikes me as a serendipitous memorial to our old friend.
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