W.Va. spill emblematic of workers' powerlessness [Letter]

January 27, 2014

I appreciate the op-ed by Robert Reich regarding West Virginia — especially how he doesn't blame the people of West Virginia, but rather points out the dilemma that they are in ("What's the matter with West Virginia?" Jan. 22). We average people do not know the details of why West Virginia state and local officials chose to allow Freedom Industries (pretty ironic name) to operate with little or no oversight, but we all can guess. We are regularly asked as the to give up our long-term interests such as safety, health and overall economic, communal and personal well-being for the short-term interests of staying employed or maintaining what status we have. There are large, very wealthy and connected forces that hire people to come up with marketing strategies and amazing legal arguments to lure us into supporting their interests, and to keep us from seeing our common interests. Mainly, I feel a sense of empathy toward the people of West Virginia affected by the spill, because we are all in the same boat.

Obviously Robert Reich's piece is a national piece, not local to Baltimore, since he's a well-known ex-cabinet official from the Clinton years. However, I hope that we hear local opinion pieces and that we start to connect the dots. We as the majority need to vote and work in our commonly held long-term interests.

Alex Rediger, Baltimore

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