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At some point in American history, unions became so successful that most people don’t even understand anymore why we’re a necessity to the existence of a middle class. The weekend, the eight-hour work day, occupational safety, retirement benefits and health coverage have all become so integral to the fabric of American life that no one remembers life before them. Life before unions helped Americans gain safe working conditions or a wage that could actually support a family.

Today in San Diego, corporations who don’t want to provide safe working conditions, livable wages, retirement benefits or health care are fighting a war for the hearts and minds of the public against unions. They lie, smear, distort and extort in their pursuit to take jobs away from the well-trained, well-qualified men and women who live in the San Diego region and give them to whomever they can pay the least and treat the worst. Their PR stunts in the wake of Gaylord’s abandonment of the bay-front project are just the latest in a long string of attacks on the middle class here.

But why is it that more reporters and members of the public don’t question the motives of industry groups like Associated Builders and Contractors

(ABC) — who have a clear agenda to pay workers less so they can keep more— when it comes to their smear campaign around the failed Gaylord negotiations? And if you think about the motives of us, the Environmental Health Coalition, Gaylord and anti-union outfits like ABC, shouldn’t you support us and the Environmental Health Coalition?

We want to make sure taxpayer funded jobs go to the people who pay the taxes. We want the work force in Chula Vista and the surrounding areas to benefit from the project. We want projects to be as environmentally friendly as possible so California can continue to grow responsibly. Environmental Health Coalition has been a tireless advocate for clean air, parks and a high quality of life in the region for decades.

ABC and Gaylord want to make money at the expense of their employees. They want to take taxpayer dollars without having to build a project that benefits the community. They want to ignore environmental laws and get away with it.

I can already predict the violent anti-union posts in response to this.

Google their names and you’ll find out they are anti-union contractors or construction company owners tied to industry groups like ABC or Associated General Contractors.

— TOM LEMMON

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