Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Comments were ugly, but they revealed good in other hearts

As I read about and listen to the reactions of Faron Owen's statements about Alaska's First People, it comes to me that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For folks who take the time to learn the history of our people, it comes as no surprise to read about the comments made by the director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council. Chief Dan George wrote "Do you know what it is like to feel you are of no value to society and those around you? Do you know what it is like to have your race belittled?" This wise elder also said, "What is it like to be without pride in your race, pride in your family, pride and confidence in yourself? What is it like? You don't know for you never tasted its bitterness. ... I believe there is a lot you can do ... respect each one for what he is ... a child of our Father in heaven, and your brother, maybe it boils down to that."

Chief George sure said a mouthful. There isn't much one can add to that, except a thank you to the companies, councils and boards that withdrew their membership in support of respecting Alaska Natives whether from Homer or Nome. To those whose hearts are colorblind, Chiqnik.

Connie Wirz

Matt Reams

Michelle Varness

Jason Paul

Kenai, Soldotna

Sleepless nights gone with union now working for employees

It's 1980. I have been working in Cook Inlet and on the North Slope for a year by now, and life is good. The money is great; gas is only a buck a gallon.

The CEOs are stacking away millions of dollars, and this does not disturb me at all. We work hard and are well paid!

Wake-up call -- Y2K -- a new century. Unocal hands on the Steelhead celebrate soon they will receive their annual cost of living pay raise. We (the roughnecks) have figured out in fact, the pay raise is actually a pay cut! CEO profits have gone through the ceiling; nothing for us but hard work and inflation. I turn to the yellow pages under union, and look: lots of unions mostly professional and educated teachers, police, nurses. The list goes on, but no roughnecks. What's up?

So we organize and join 341. Sleep comes much easier now. We have professional people dealing with getting us back to the level we were in 1980 with wages vs. inflation.

Peak employees, please look through the smoke, lies and videotapes. CEOs claim they can't pay more money -- it's just not there. Where did it go then? Look to their bank accounts. The money was there when gas was a dollar a gallon, now it will soon be two dollars a gallon. Where did it go? Who's got it?

Since the Nabors election, which was close, the roughnecks have really united and come together nearly 100 percent for the union. Try to get ol' Jim Denny to sign the contract, which is a great deal, with the insurance, pay raises and pension. The oil companies are willing to sign but the CEOs hate to see the working guy cut into the millions of profits they reap.

Guess what? You didn't fool the roughnecks and the Peak hands are just as smart. Peak hands, get on the bus -- sleep better, live better and someday, retire.

Peak employees, don't let this pass you by. You guys are our brothers and it really is all about everyone, VECO, APC, just to name a few.

Please vote "yes," sleep and smile.

By the way, I came to Alaska in 1979. I've always worked in oil patch and had five Alaska-born children.

Kelly West

Lives in Girdwood, works in Cook Inlet

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