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Readers Write: Labor unions deserve our thanks; Alcohol is deadliest drug

Letters to the Editor for the October 1, 2012 weekly print issue: Only 12 percent of workers are in unions now, but we should remember how unions have improved our lives and thank the many laborers around us today. In driving accidents, alcohol – not marijuana – is the deadliest drug.

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Appreciating labor – then and now

Congratulations on the benchmark Sept. 3 issue with "The silver-collar economy" cover story. Starting with John Yemma's Upfront column, "Working to make a difference," this issue looked at labor issues across South Africa, Europe, and Saudi Arabia, and the In Pictures feature, "A world of work," was beautiful. Ending with Danny Heitman's commentary, "When the office is like a second home," and the "Fall books preview," this issue got me to remembering, too.

Growing up in the 1950s, there was a strong appreciation of "labor," which was mostly recognized at that time as having a union label. Almost 35 percent of American workers belonged to unions, and Labor Day was a big deal. That celebratory day was right up there with Armistice Day (now called Veterans Day) as a time when hundreds of thousands of people we didn't know by name were in our hearts for having built and protected America so that we all could grow up, have families, and grow old with dignity.

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