Looks as though the Circus Maximus has moved to Annapolis.
Kim Clark's Aug. 9 article on the National Treasury Employees Union organizing campaign in the Social Security Administration provided an excellent historical overview but missed some essential points when describing the specifics of the campaign.
The fundamental differences between the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the NTEU are not, as the article stated, based on differing internal structures.
The distinction between AFGE and NTEU goes to the very core of what a public service union should be and what it should do.
NTEU is based on the belief that a union must faithfully represent the community of interest among employees who share common employment conditions. NTEU is the union for employees in civilian agencies of the federal government such as the Social Security Administration.
In contrast, AFGE is primarily the union of military agency employees with a smattering of civilian agency and even local government employees.
While the practical implications of the distinction between civilian and military agencies may not be readily apparent, the political reality of the federal budget process is that military and civilian agency funding are distinct and often competing interests. Adequate civilian agency funding is an absolute prerequisite for any improvement in working conditions.
NTEU is also committed to breaking down the barriers of traditional labor-management relations. We seek the empowerment of the employee in the workplace in terms of both work and worklife quality. NTEU was the first to establish a nationwide, comprehensive joint quality program with a major federal agency.
Federal employees now labor under a management system that is subject to partisan political manipulation, is inherently hostile to employees and arbitrarily restricts employee participation. The current personnel management system is a creature of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.
If one wants to understand the basic difference between NTEU and AFGE, it is nowhere more obvious than in AFGE's support for the CSRA and NTEU's unalterable opposition to that
Robert M. Tobias
The writer is NTEU's national president.
Crime is up. Homicides are up. The cost of drugs is up. The death rate from contaminated drugs is up. The prisons are overflowing.
Increased law enforcement not only fails to reduce the use of drugs but diverts resources from the enforcement of other laws.
Sound familiar? It should. This is happening today exactly as it did during the last prohibition, when authorities lost control over the distribution of alcohol.
Prohibition destroys legal jobs and creates a black market that brings with it violence and increased homicides as dealers fight for territorial rights. It increases the cost of prohibited goods to where it pays to steal and to kill for increased market share.
This is especially true since the probability of getting caught and punished becomes less and less as the court system and prisons become overcrowded.
Crime became organized during the 1920s, and who knows -- we may get a new generation Mafia out of the current prohibition of drugs and handguns.
Reports of the violence express not only concern but confusion and bewilderment. The carnage is no surprise. The surprise is that very few are willing to acknowledge history. The adverse effects of Prohibition in the United States between 1920 and 1933 are well documented. They parallel the events of today.
The war against the prohibition of alcohol was fought, and lost, 60 years ago. History is repeating itself on the streets of Baltimore and throughout the United States. As Yogi Berra would say, "It's deja vu all over again."
Only when we declare an end to the "war" will we be able to get on with the business of helping those who need the drugs, and those few who need help with a drug problem.
Donald E. Gerhardt
They Don't Get It
It was heartening to read the letter from Mary M. Shaffrey (Aug. 7) in The Sun in which she defended the unfairly battered Vice President Dan Quayle (who sure knows a rotten potato when he smells one).
Also, I agree with the letter from Jacqueline Madison (Aug. 9) who so articulately points out why the Democrats just don't get ** it. She said it exactly right and certainly speaks for me and lots of others. Lyndon Johnson made a Republican out of me.
I am glad to know that everyone is not taking the euphoric bus ride, believing the snow job and the constant Bush/Quayle bashing so gleefully indulged in by the Democratic candidates.
They enjoy complete coverage and smiling approval by the liberal media, but have no effect on me or the great silent majority that, I trust, will be heard in the voting booths nationwide.
Mildred K. Johnson