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To the editor,

The letter from Darrell Spears of Spears Framing Ltd. ("Open for business," January 18) and the article "Hammering Away" by Erica Butler (January 4), about the efforts of the carpenters' union to improve the construction industry for workers, needs further input.

In Mr. Spears's letter to the editor, he reports his operation is an "open shop." This is industry code for anti-union, a term spun from the "merit shop" organization of construction company owners devoted to breaking the union whenever possible. Mr. Spears claims he will employ union carpenters, but he has consistently refused to employ any of our members when they seek employment with Spears Framing.

Mr. Spears suggests in his letter that his wage package is as much as our union-agreed wages. The union's position is that by setting wages, thereby taking wages out of competition, our members don't have to compete with one another, driving down wages in the process. Everyone in the industry knows that construction unions set the standard for the highest wages offered.

As for union dues, our members know that their dues go towards supporting our organization, which in turn offers them training, wage protection, legal representation to help in the collection of unpaid wages and resolution of workplace disputes, and job referrals both locally and nationally. Even international job referrals come through our union's offices.

Thank you for your interest in our efforts.

By Peter Greer

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