Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 17

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 17

Article excerpt

Labor movement has boosted African-American workers

As a scholar of the U.S. labor movement, I read state Rep. Shamed Dogan's commentary, "Unions ignore long history of excluding minorities from jobs" (Nov. 14), with great interest.

Some of what he wrote was essentially correct: The labor movement's shameful history of racial exclusion meant that in 1900, less than 1 percent of U.S. union members were African-American, with many employers pitting African-Americans against white union workers during labor conflicts.

Of course, there was much he left out. In particular, he ignored the dramatic growth of African-American representation in U.S. labor unions by the second half of the 20th century so much growth that by the 1960s and 1970s, no group was more overrepresented in labor unions than African-Americans. That overrepresentation continues to this day. And that fact makes his whole argument about who benefits from prevailing wage laws and other protections labor unions provide completely wrong.

My research has found that in recent decades the U.S. labor movement has provided a vital boost to the economic fortunes of many African-American workers, and the dramatic decline of unions in Missouri and elsewhere has worsened racial inequality.

Jake Rosenfeld * St. Louis

Professor directs consortium funded by coal companies

I read with interest the commentaries on renewable energy Nov. 15. I was curious as to the background of Professor Richard L. Axelbaum at Washington University ("Idea of 100 percent renewable energy isn't feasible"). Would it have been useful to include in his bio that he is the director of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization, funded in part by Arch Coal and Peabody Energy?

He cites projections made by the International Energy Agency about expected future energy supply sources. An article about this entity on Wikipedia cites criticism of IEA projections by the Energy Watch Group. They point out that the IEA said global wind energy production would not reach 47 gigawatts until 2020; actually, EWG says, this production was reached in 2004.

It makes me wonder whose interest the professor is promoting.

Doug Mendenhall * Alton

Alabamans' decision hinges on abortion issue

The editorial "Blunt trauma" (Nov. 15) states: "Not all of Alabama's evangelicals are sticking with Moore, but a lot of them are." Then it says observe that if there is a write-in campaign, it would split the Republican vote and elect a Democrat.

I do not know if the accusations against Senate candidate Roy Moore are true, but the evidence lends credence to those accusations. So why would evangelicals and other voters in Alabama still support his candidacy? The answer seems obvious.

Many Alabamans are social issue voters. They understand that if Moore drops out or loses the election, a Democrat will win that Senate seat. …

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