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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Don’t trade our jobs away

Fifteen years ago, there were more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs in Iowa, which still paid a significant wage for middle-skill workers without college degrees. Today, the number of manufacturing jobs here is closer to 214,000, and there are a lot more of us working at places such as Walmart.

If you think those manufacturing jobs were zapped by robots or simply the victims of a globalized world, I have some magic beans for sale. There’s a big reason these jobs were lost, and it’s called unfair trade policies.

Right now, some in Washington are lining up to pass President Obama’s big trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But there’s a lot wrong with it. There’s no rule in it on currency manipulation, for one, even though many of the partnership governments have histories of devaluing their currencies to get over on the competition.

America’s trade deficit with the those countries was more than $260 billion last year. If we sign a deal that lets foreign governments continue to cheat, that number will go up, and so will the number of lost manufacturing jobs. Washington, don’t trade our jobs away.

John Herrig
President, Iowa State Council of the Machinists

Recognize women’s contributions

March is Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. The commemoration has its roots historically in the United States in the 1800s, when female factory workers stood up for just labor conditions. Congress eventually established Women’s History Month in 1987. The International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide, and four United Nations women’s conferences have built support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

We have an opportunity and responsibility to recognize and highlight the many contributions of women locally and globally. Women have been and still are the backbone and heart of every community. The efforts made by women to improve and enhance our quality of life are too numerous to mention. Recognizing their efforts enhances everyone’s history. We are in debt to them and grateful for their leadership.

Recently in Oslo, Norway, a 17-year-old young woman named Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to advocate for the basic rights and education of children and young adults. Malala, the youngest-ever Nobel winner, addressed the group imploring, “I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.”

Let this be a reminder to all of us of the need that there is more work to be done to ensure that each person’s basic rights and dignity will be fully recognized.

Nancy Miller, osf
Franciscan Peace Center


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