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Labor unions raise the standard of living for all American workers

To The Daily Sun,

It is a matter of power and influence. The rich and business owners and managers have power and the middle class and poor has very little. Why?

The middle class acquires power and influence in two ways: our elected representatives (Congress and local state governments) and through collective bargaining (unions). Well, as we have seen Congress has been taken over by the rich, and our New Hampshire General Court (taken over) by the Republicans, who openly support the rich and business owners. Republican-led governments work to weaken middle class influence by a number of means including stopping or opposing unions.

With little influence in the federal or state governments and an erosion of organized labor, the middle class and the poor have lost out. Our wages are low. Our working conditions are poor. The middle class is disappearing. And we have no way to change this status quo without stronger unions and better representation in governments. Luckily for New Hampshire our U.S. senators and congressional representatives are pro-middle class and worker. But this is the exception and not the rule in Washington.

Right-to-Work laws weaken unions, thereby prevent the middle class and the poor from getting a fair wage and a fair "deal" in life. The playing field is horribly tilted toward the rich and is getting worse.

For a moment think what would happen if all the Walmart system of stores was unionized and allowed to bargain collectively with management. It would raise the standard of living of all American workers. Currently the Walmart owners get about $8 billion a year in profits. Why don't they use some of this excess to raise the standard of living of their employees?

A 40-hour work week in any job should produce enough income to provide a living without government assistance. Right now, two parents working three jobs at $7.25 an hour (federal and state minimum wage) would earn about $40,000 a year. I urge our state reps and senators to try raising a family on that without any other income or health care support.

Tom Dawson


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Year-Round Library survey findings are readily available online

To The Daily Sun,

A recent letter to The Laconia Daily Sun raised questions about the survey conducted by the Gilmanton Year-Round Library, and we would just like to correct some of information for our patrons, and those in the community who would like to know more.

Last summer, the GYRL decided to reach out to the community to better understand their needs, to help us plan financially for our future, as well as get a better idea of the needs and wants of the community in regards to programs and how we operate. To do this, we utilized the service of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center to give us unbiased results. We also included several community conversations in the early stages before the surveys were sent out to give those in the community a time to vocalize their own opinions of the GYRL, and ensure all individuals could be heard.

Survey distribution was sent via EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail), meaning that all 1,714 surveys were delivered to every mailbox and P. O. Box in town. Extra copies were made for those who had more than one individual who wanted a to respond in a household, as well as for those who either do not have a mailing address or needed a replacement. According to the survey results, we were told that 20 percent (348) if the surveys were returned; and of those, 89 percent were those received in mailboxes. Overall, according to the UNH Survey Center, this was an amazing response rate.

During the Nov. 17 Community Conversation, we invited the survey director and another associate for the UNH Survey Center to come and speak directly with the community about the results. They prepared a PowerPoint presentation that went over the 74-page report. They explained how the statistics broke down, and went over the several of the graphs. They answered questions from the community in an open and honest fashion.

Over the last six months, we have had an average of 717 visitors per month. That's 408 adults, 32 teens, and 277 children, with a grand total of 1,846 patrons who utilize the library. We had an average of 828 transactions, and 10 new cards issued a month. Our librarians are working hard to bring new and creative programming to the community each month, as well as, eagerly welcoming all interests, and ideas of what to do next.

Our focus continues to be on our mission which is to provide the town of Gilmanton with a full-service library with programs and services such as inter-library loans, eBooks, internet access, adult presentations, and teen and children's activities that are not otherwise available in town. The library is purposely located directly across the street from the school to provide convenient after school services to its students.

We encourage all residents of Gilmanton to sign up for our monthly E-news, like us on Facebook, grab a calendar from the front desk, or check out our website to keep up to date on all events. If you're out and about in the community please look for our calendars, now posted on community boards throughout town. We also encourage you to have a voice in all Community Conversations held in the future.

For those who missed the meeting where the results were announced, the survey findings have been and will continue to be available on our website at www.gyrla.org and in hard copy form at the library. We encourage everyone to check out the results. All monthly board meetings are open to the public (held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.), and anyone with questions is encouraged to attend these meetings where the issues can be addressed in a public and recorded session. We look forward to continuing to support Gilmanton residents' needs.

Anna Gilbert
On behalf of GYRL Board of Directors

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