What have Unions done for my family and me? Virtually all the benefits you and I have enjoyed at work, whether in the public or private sector, are there because unions took the lead and fought hard and long for these worker rights.

Unions have long been part of our nation’s history, fighting for better pay, safer working conditions, health care, retirement benefits, education and civic participation. Unions have brought diverse voices together, and their struggles have elevated the working conditions, the standard of living and the recognition of not just their members.

Unions have given us the fair wages and relative income equality. Unions helped win widespread employer-based health coverage.

Unions spearheaded the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act, paid vacation, sick leave, Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage, eight-hour work day and a 40-hour work week, overtime pay, Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA), worker’s compensation, Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) for railroad employees hurt on the job, unemployment insurance, pensions, the list goes on.

What about coal?  We hear President Trump, Congressman Adrian Smith, Sen. Deb Fischer and other politicians, using “war on coal” as a scare tactic.  They have had plenty of time to turn things around.

Fifty coal-fired power plants have closed since President Trump took office in 2017. Coal use has been declining as electricity producers abandoned it for cheaper natural gas and renewable energy and governments and companies shifted to cleaner alternative. Coal production has declined 26% in 2020.

Railroad unions are presently in contract talks with the carriers. Are union members and their families willing to give up better pay and benefits by voting for candidates that don’t support workers and their families?

Ask your union treasurer for a copy of the Fringe Benefit Package that unions have negotiated for their members. Then ask yourself what a Trump Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) will do to your work rules, wages, and benefits? The Railroads may ask for the elimination of Conductor and Engineer positions as they did with the brakemen’s positions.

Another benefit that railroads are asking union members to pay a lot more for is health care coverage.

Terry Sigler, North Platte