LENNY PERKINS, Richland
Many articles and speeches this year blame unions for hurting our economy. "They destroy productivity and bankrupt companies," critics say.
My experience with unions at the Hanford site, the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC) representing bargaining unit employees, has always been pretty good. In fact, I found them almost always acting as advocates to get the work done in a timely and quality manner, with strong emphasis for the safety of all the work force and protecting the environment.
In fact, the worker safety program at Hanford, where union personnel act as advocates for safety and work with employees and management, should be a model for any company.
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Worker participation, be they union or nonunion, in the upfront planning of jobs has been shown to be a huge enhancement to worker buy in, a better planned job and a much safer job execution leading to mission success.
At the highest level of some unions and some companies (and Congress and the administration) is where there is a problem from my perspective, because the priorities appear to be power and money and everything else falls aside (that would be us and our country).
This can lead to the worker and citizen being forgotten as the union, politicians and the company battle for top-dog status.