A recent letter makes some very interesting points about unions. In fairness I felt that I needed to share my experiences with the United Steelworkers.

In 2006 I went to work at the KapStone Paper mill, a facility that has been a staple of North Charleston for longer than I have been alive.

Interestingly enough, it is still there and productive even though it has been a union facility for over 50 years. I got involved in the union shortly after and began to truly understand what it meant to be union.

I know the benefits I get from the company have been negotiated with the union and I am proud to pay my union dues. I consider them an investment.

I have been on several work boards, and the union helped pick who was on those committees. Membership was not limited to who the company wanted.

I have been able to fight for safety issues without any fear of repercussions. I have seen firsthand where the union brothers and sisters worked together with the company to make it through the economic downturn, while the United Steelworkers fought for a tax break for the company to keep the doors open.

The letter writer implies that unions were the cause of the auto bailouts. The Ford CEO stated in an interview that the reason that Ford was successful was that the UAW worked with Ford to help the company survive and not take a bailout.

The writer also states that because of unions, jobs have left the area. I guess that’s why the UAW is fighting for tariffs on illegally dumped tires in the United States to save American jobs.

What is really interesting is that Gov. Nikki Haley wanted the Commerce Department to drop the tariffs.

Now if the governor is so worried about jobs here in South Carolina, why wouldn’t she care about tires that are being illegally dumped here to hurt our workers?

Is a union perfect? No. But if a CEO doesn’t work without a contract why should you?

Joe Shelley

United Steelworkers

Member Local 9-508

Belvedere Drive