Stuck with it
Last week's article "Caught in the downdraft" [12/14] about the fall of dot-coms sure rang home with me. I too, left the comforts of a secure job to venture into the promised land of long days, cramped quarters, and frugal budgets—all with the dream of stock options coming to fruition, etc., only to get burned in the end. The price people have paid goes well beyond what was listed in the article. There are plenty of people who are owed back wages that will probably never see the money, expense reports that have never been reimbursed, and people who have been completely screwed over on health insurance coverage.
This has been a painful lesson. The "promised land" of dot-coms was not at all what any of us had expected.
Get paid to show up
As a non-striking employee of The Seattle Times, I found Nina Shapiro's report on the strike ["Striking spin," 12/14] to be most informative, despite her obvious pro-Guild bias. The crucial facts that emerge from her report are:
(1) The Guild position is that pay should be awarded just for showing up, rather than for actually getting work done. This is an archaic notion better suited to the civil service than a competitive private sector employer, and certainly doesn't rank among the great progressive causes of our time.
(2) The Guild leadership doesn't give a damn about working people in other unions and is willing to endanger their livelihoods—as well as those of small merchants, independent carriers, and unaffiliated workers—in order to settle a 13-year-old grudge.
In fact, the Guild leadership doesn't even seem to care much about the Guild members, who were not afforded an opportunity to vote on the final pre-strike contract offer and who were cynically deceived into expecting a quick and easy victory.
The Guild boycott, if successful, will only lead to substantial and permanent job losses—among Guild members as well as innocent third parties. This isn't company propaganda, just obvious economic reality.
Shapiro quotes the Guild's VP as saying, "The hell with you too," to the other Times unions. Working people at the Times, while naturally disposed to be sympathetic to their fellow union members, will remember the Guild's cavalier attitude toward their well-being.
We urge our fellow Seattleites to look behind the Guild's self-righteous posturing and consider the damage the Guild boycott will do to working people and their families. DON'T SUPPORT THE GUILD BOYCOTT!
For the first week, and periodically since, I have questioned my own reasons for deciding not to participate in the NW Guild strike [see "Striking spin," 12/14]. I spend a great deal of time examining the situation and the impact it will ultimately have on me and my coworkers, both in the building and on the streets.
At the risk of hypocrisy, I had initially supported the Union. My position had gone through some significant changes and was desperately in need of examination, specifically [as] to wages. As negotiations approached, I and other coworkers put in our two cents worth concerning our position. Much to my disappointment, the louder voices were not interested in examining what each position deserved, but in a lump sum for everyone. After all, that is how a Union works and negotiates. Or so at least I have come to understand.
The unfortunate part about this is that the Union really has made this personal instead of about business. The Union convinced a lot of people that they should stop drawing water from the well, then destroy the well as much as they can because then the well will give them more water. Math was never my strongest subject, but something there doesn't add up for me. These contracts are about business: what can the company live with giving up, what can the workers live with getting. And what too many people have forgotten is, work is not guaranteed, nor are workers guaranteed to fill the jobs. If you can't live on what you make, it is time to get a new job. I know that I am not tied to my desk. Like my decision to work during the strike, I can make the decision to leave the company all together.
But perhaps I am being idealistic, and ultimately this comes down not to money, respect, or solidarity. Maybe it just [comes] right down to being right. Religion, politics, even weeks of judicial rule about the presidency were mostly found[ed] on the principle of "I am right and you are wrong." Despite where I am right now, I have no illusions that both sides of the negotiation table posture for the position of who is more right. The question is, what is a person willing to do to prove that point . . . and is it worth it?
Fefer and vitriol
As a British citizen, I was insulted by the first sentence of Mark D. Fefer's film review: "Into the Arms of Strangers" ["One-way ticket," 12/14]. He writes it is hard for him to believe that England was sympathetic to the Jews during WWII because of the current "astonishing anti-Israel vitriol . . . on the BBC. . ." You what?! Does it follow that the British government has always been anti-Semitic because Mr. Fefer didn't care for a reporter's coverage of the Middle East?
I don't know if Mr. Fefer would call himself a journalist or a film-reviewer. If the former, he should understand that a reporter's coverage does not echo, necessarily, his nation's history, nor his nation's foreign policy; if the latter, he should stick to critiquing films.
Mr. Fefer's logic is almost as peculiar as the caption to the accompanying photograph: "Dutch women greet children on an England-bound train." There was only one woman in the photograph, and one doesn't greet people who leave. Did Mr. Fefer write the caption too?
COLIN L. TURNER
Any chance at all
As both the parent of a child who died while a patient in Children's Hospital's heart program and a cardiac critical care nurse, I felt compelled to respond to your recent article about Children's ("Tearing at Children's Heart," 11/30).
Our son, Maxwell Ali Trudell, was born last November at Northwest Hospital. Several hours after birth he became unstable and was quickly taken to Children's where, like Darius Soleiman, he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).
What your article didn't make clear is what this means. HLHS is a devastating cascade of several congenital heart defects. Untreated, one-quarter of kids born with HLHS will die within a week, and virtually none can survive beyond six weeks. The fact is, from the moment Max was born it was virtually certain that no matter what we chose to do we would almost certainly outlive our son.
It was in this situation that we met Dr. Mark Lupinetti and the rest of the doctors and nurses at Children's. As your article made clear, Dr. Lupinetti is certainly self-assured, and perhaps not the kind of person you'd like to sit next to during a long bus ride. But in my experience as a nurse very few cardiac surgeons are; their job is to perform surgery on a person's heart, in Max's case a heart the size of a walnut, and the person best suited for the job isn't someone lacking self-confidence or prone to emotion or self-doubt.
In my experience tension between doctors and nurses, or between doctors themselves, is hardly uncommon. But while his self-assurance may have made Dr. Lupinetti difficult to work with at times, none of the frictions which your article pointed out seemed to surface during our time at Children's with Max. In fact we found both the medical and nursing staffs wonderfully responsive, both to my many questions as a professional, which included at every step an explanation for the care he received, and to our needs as parents fighting for our son's life.
Despite the care he received, Max died almost two days after his operation. Both Dr. Lupinetti and his staff were unable to explain what happened, and his autopsy told us little more. But the truth is that what killed him was being born with a heart that couldn't do what hearts need to do. We also don't blame Dr. Lupinetti or any of his other caregivers. In fact, we still consider having a world-class facility like Children's right in our backyard one of the few good cards Max was dealt.
It seems to me in reading your article that the only true villain at Children's is the person sending anonymous letters filled with innuendo to parents facing the death of their child. Whoever they are, I hope they either find the courage to stand behind their accusations, or the decency to stop and think about the awful damage they've done.
Our hearts go out to Darius' family for the loss and emptiness they feel. But it seems to me that in a world where so many perfectly healthy children die for little or no reason, perhaps part of our sadness should be tempered by the fact that kids like Max and Darius had any chance at all, and for that I thank in large part the people at Children's Hospital.
JACK TRUDELL, RN
Letter o' the week
What is going on? Our country was founded upon Christian principles. As prayer in school is ignorantly promoted as illegal, our society has began banning more and more of our American heritage. The Christmas tree has been banned from some schools because of its religious ties, what ties? The decorating of trees is condemned in the Bible. If we are to ban anything associated with Christians at Christmas time, we must ban Frosty the Snowman, after all without a Christmas there would be no Frosty, Santa, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Of course gift-giving would have to be banned also as it is representative of Christ's death upon the cross, God's gift to us, a pardon from eternal death for our sins. Christmas is Christ. Christmas is an American Tradition. The Constitution prohibits laws being made concerning religion, to prohibit religion by law is unconstitutional. Yes, I understand the Supreme Court has said otherwise, but it is plain they were wrong. Read the Constitution and then read your Bible.
ROGER W. HANCOCK
In "Whirling and curling" [12/14], the wrong date was given for the Granite Curling Club open house, but fear not, would-be curlers, the event will indeed occur on January 27. The enthused may visit www.curlingseattle.org.
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