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Letters to the editor

April 27, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.

Arkansas sovereignty decided around 1865

I would like to remind letter writer Mike Clifford ("Legislators should pass state 'Sovereignty Act,'" April 21) and other supporters of the so-called "Arkansas Sovereignty Act" that there has already been a thorough debate on the matter that has now been considered settled for quite some time. Perhaps they heard about it. It lasted from 1861 to 1865. They lost.

Time to move on, kids.

Raymond Dilfield

Eureka Springs

Workers Memorial Day still reflects need to act

In 2020, American heroes working in grocery stores, the U.S. Postal Service, hospitals and more became categorized as "essential workers" and many of them had to risk their lives by doing work in unsafe conditions. Some workers lost their lives in doing so. We honor those on this Workers Memorial Day, April 28, which coincides annually with the birth of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As the coronavirus calamity continues into 2021 and deadly workplace risks remain, there has never been a more important time to give workers more voice and more power.

Research shows that nearly 60 million workers, many even here in Arkansas, would join a union if given the opportunity. So why haven't they? For years policymakers, corporate lobbyists and CEOs have stopped at nothing to keep worker power at bay. One result has been that workplace safety agencies have been hollowed out and de-fanged with reductions in staff and a stagnant budget.

Workers' safety and workers' voices go hand in hand.

The covid-19 catastrophe exposed the lack of resources and accountability for OSHA to ensure workers are protected on the job, as well as the structural failures that have prevented workers from organizing for safer working conditions.

Fifty years ago Congress created OSHA and we celebrate that promise each Workers Memorial Day. As we look to the next 50 years of national worker protections, Congress must act again. The U.S. House has recently passed that renewal promise and now, the Senate must act to do the same.

The Northwest Arkansas Central Labor Council calls upon Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton to stand up for workplace safety and a strong worker voice. When workers collectively negotiate with employers, it isn't solely about getting a bigger piece of the pie but, just as importantly, it is about a safer place to work.

The House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act on March 9 in a bi-partisan vote. President Biden has asked the Senate to send the PRO Act to his desk. It's time for the Senate to stand with working people and President Biden and protect the right to organize.

We look forward to the day we have no worker deaths to memorialize on April 28.

Walter Hinojosa

Bella Vista

President, Northwest Arkansas Central Labor Council

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