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Ports union is painting a target on its back

To the editor: Though I am in favor of seeing working people protected, I believe the port worker union's power in this case is disproportionate and potentially devastating to the U.S. economy. ("Small but powerful union is at center of port dispute," Feb. 17)

Unlike other labor organizations that are more specific to particular industries, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union can disrupt many industries (and by extension, the entire U.S. economy) through work stoppages at the ports. A union of 20,000 members that has the power to impact the U.S. GDP through a work stoppage simply has too much power.

At a time when unions are in a decline and have targets on their backs for GOP politicians running for office, the port worker union in this case should strongly consider not just the damage it could cause the U.S. economy, but the political gift it will be handing to the GOP.

The PR value of an economically disruptive strike could be used as a bludgeon to drive this particular union (and all other unions) out of existence over the long term.

Matthew Singerman, Newbury Park

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To the editor: Thank you for this story. Ever since Ronald Reagan shut down the air traffic controllers union in 1981, about the same time that middle class purchasing power began its steady decline, we've been hearing the steady conservative drone about the evils of unions.

This piece reminds us that, with collective bargaining, businesses can still make a good profit and citizens can still realize what my generation used to call the American Dream. Few remember those days when a family could be raised on one income and we assumed our kids would have a better life than ours.

Unions were and are the key to bringing back that prosperity.

Barry Davis, Agoura Hills

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