Story of how unfair layoffs affect families should be told
The story in the paper about the union dispute should have talked more about the 13 employees and families who were laid off (fired unfairly) and how they suffered without jobs. It should have talked about the family problems that come from being let go by a big company without money to pay rent, utilities, food, etc.
The employees who were able to keep their jobs suffered many indignities.
No amount of money will repair the damage done to these people and their families. Big companies spend big dollars to keep out of the courts, and Austin sure did. It was the unions that stood up for the employees and helped them get what they did.
I recall last year, with much fanfare, BP brought Austin Industries to Alaska from Texas to build the gas-to-liquids plant in Nikiski. Austin was going to hire Alaskans to do the job and was going to treat them fairly. A one-quarter-million dollar settlement sounds like this did not happen.
How much did they spend on lawyers to fight this before the settlement?
I remember seeing the vans arrive every morning at the job site dropping off the out-of-state workers. The articles in the paper talk of a complete project, and it was supposed to be this spring, but I have yet to hear it operate and BP to proclaim it is a successful project.
Blake Johnson, president
Kenai Peninsula Central Labor Council
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