Letters: Talking and texting while you’re behind the wheel – think again

Dear Editor,
The gentleman unfortunately killed in the accident last week in
north Gilroy was an acquaintance of mine. He was a talkative person
and the police said he was on his cell phone at the time of the
accident. Had he not been distracted this way, it is very possible
he would have seen the oncoming car and not pulled out into the
road and still be alive today.
Talking and texting while you’re behind the wheel – think again

Dear Editor,

The gentleman unfortunately killed in the accident last week in north Gilroy was an acquaintance of mine. He was a talkative person and the police said he was on his cell phone at the time of the accident. Had he not been distracted this way, it is very possible he would have seen the oncoming car and not pulled out into the road and still be alive today.

People, please do not talk on a cell or text while driving. Parents, emphasize this to your kids of driving age. It could save the life of a friend, a relative, or your own.

Leon Chaikin, Aptos

Letter provides a clear and simple solution for homeless at the camp

Dear Editor,

With regards to Patricia Michelini’s letter about leaving the homeless who are at the encampment alone, the solution is clear: let them camp in Patricia’s backyard. Problem solved.

Don Kludt, Gilroy

SEIU affiliation best choice for employees at Saint Louise Hospital

Dear Editor,

I have worked in the food service department at Saint Louise Regional Hospital for more than 20 years and am responding to Kathleen Volle’s letter regarding the upcoming election we’re having between our current union, SEIU, and a splinter group which has formed NUHW.

Ms. Volle accused our recognized union SEIU of “bullying, intimidation and secret deals” among other things. I would like to address and clarify a few issues.

First, on April 30, 2008 our contract expired. Sal Roselli and John Borsos were the leaders of our local union at the time. They had successfully negotiated two previous contracts for us. We were confident they would succeed a third time. Nine months went by and they failed. Not only did they fail, the entire staff of our local union was ousted and removed for several reasons, two of them being the alleged misuse of millions of dollars of union funds and violating members’ democratic rights.

Our confidence turned into confusion and ultimately despair. Our contract was left wide open and we felt we were in jeopardy. Add to this the state of the economy and the rise in the unemployment rate and the uneasiness multiplied. While all this was happening, Roselli and Borsos started a new union and called it NUHW.

In early 2009, SEIU started coming around and was interested in finding people who were willing to join the bargaining team to continue contract negotiations. Of course NUHW supporters wanted nothing to do with SEIU. They made that loud and clear and were the cause of some very intimidating situations themselves. After months of anguish, restlessness and just shear disappointment, I ended up joining the SEIU bargaining team much to the dismay of NUHW supporters.

So, contrary to popular opinion I did not jump into the SEIU bandwagon willy-nilly and gung-ho waving a purple flag. I was not handpicked by SEIU nor appointed. I was elected by my co-workers and have the signatures to prove it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a reasonable and rational person and I joined the bargaining team after, and only after, our previous bargaining team refused to participate.

SEIU sent out mailers asking members what was most important to them and the top four concerns were: raises, benefits/insurance costs, retroactive pay and no management rights. SEIU did reach out to it’s members. There were no “secret deals.”

I feel we delivered on those concerns and so did 97 percent of the people who voted to ratify our contract in October 2009. For Ms. Volle to say that “we voted on a contract we didn’t see” is an accurate statement, but it’s misleading.

In our past ratifications the contract was not readily available either. I believe this is the case with all ratifications in general. The only things which are available at the time of ratification are the tentative agreements. Those tentative agreements were readily available.

NUHW would have you believe that they can get you a better contract with better pay by paying less dues. At this point those are just ideas and theories that are floating in the air and have yet to be proven because they are not based on reality. NUHW has yet to bargain a contract. Ms. Volle is correct when she says that NUHW has thousands of members. Approximately 3,600. What she failed to mention was that of those 3600 none are currently paying union dues to NUHW. None.

Dues are a union’s bread and butter. SEIU currently has 150,000 members in our local with an overall membership of 2.1 million, each one paying union dues. Strength in numbers

Finally, the most concerning part for me is an upcoming jury trial in federal court taking place March 22 which again Ms. Volle failed to mention. Sal Roselli and John Borsos, leaders of NUHW, will have to answer to charges ranging from deletions of thousands of e-mails and files to the misuse of millions of union funds. This is the union that Ms. Volle is fighting so hard to have represent us.

NUHW needs to withdraw their petition and just move on.

I do agree with Ms. Volle when she said that “things are about to get better”, but only if we support SEIU.

Jaime Avelar, Gilroy

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