LETTERS TO THE EDITORWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week was created in 1974 when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order to establish the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. All across the country volunteers will be celebrated and honored April 27-May 3. The theme this year is Volunteer to Change the World and that is just what American Red Cross volunteers do. Without volunteers, the Red Cross could not complete its mission to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Volunteers constitute ninety-six percent of the total Red Cross work force trained to carry out the humanitarian work.
At the Greater Toledo Area Chapter, more than 1,000 volunteers help people affected by local and national disasters, teach lifesaving skills and serve members of the military and their families. These individuals are called at 2:00AM to assist a family after their home has been destroyed by a fire; they are asked to leave the comforts of their home for weeks at a time to help a community that has been devastated by a wildfire; or they teach a weekend class so that someone can learn how to save a life.
This week, and always, we want to thank volunteers that both encourage those they help and motivate those around them to serve. Providing their time and energy without expectation of anything in return is a true testament of their giving spirits.
American Red Cross
Greater Toledo Area Chapter
Sick over sick days column
It was disappointing to read Maggie Thurber’s April 13 column, "Sick days plan not healthy for Ohio," against providing sick days for all Ohio workers. This is the mindset that hinders growth in Lucas County.
For too long, companies have prospered by refusing sick days and paying low wages to Ohio workers. If you can’t afford to give an employee a decent salary, surely you can allow sick days. Unfortunately, this is the group of Ohio workers that can least afford to be penalized for being sick. Ohio doesn’t need more of this type of employer (I bet Ms. Thurber has never taken a sick day without pay).
Also, evidently, Ms. Thurber is "technology challenged" when it comes to record keeping. If a company has the ability to create paychecks and deduct pay for sick days, iti has the ability to perform whatever record-keeping necessary to accommodate sick days for its employees.
JUDITH S. COBB, Maumee
Maggie Thurber responds:
What really hinders growth in Lucas County and Ohio is the mindset represented by Ms Cobb that fails to recognize how to create a ’business-friendly environment’ in our area and state.
First of all, despite her speculation, I’ve taken plenty of unpaid sick days, so I do know exactly what that’s like to have to decide whether to go work and possibly infect others with my illness while suffering or to forego a day’s pay. I’ve also worked at lower paying jobs as I gained experience and skills. I paid for my college education, working full-time at such lower-paying jobs, so I wouldn’t have to stay in such positions.
The point isn’t whether or not companies can or should provide paid sick days. It’s about government mandating such a benefit. Companies regularly make decisions about pay, benefits and perks. What works for one company might not in another. One company may have older employees for whom pensions and prescription drug coverage are important. Others might have a younger workforce that values flexible schedules or work-from-home options.
Regardless of their workforce, different industries have different levels of benefits primarily based upon the availability of workers to meet their needs and what their competition is doing. Companies need the flexibility to structure their total compensation based upon what is standard in their industry, what attracts and retains their employees and what they can afford. Companies – their owners and employees – will prosper when such flexibility is present.
When the state allows companies the freedom to make such decisions without costly mandates, they provide a ’business-friendly’ environment that encourages companies to locate and/or grow here. However, when the state imposes mandates on the amount and type of benefits based upon the mistaken notion that employees are entitled to such rights, job providers will chose to go elsewhere. In today’s global economy and with the need for rapid reaction to market conditions, limiting a company’s flexibility is not the mindset that will lead to growth.
Ms. Cobb also suggests that I am ‘technology challenged’ because of my criticism of the recordkeeping requirements. The ability of companies to do the recordkeeping was never in question. The cost of such recordkeeping changes is. Ms. Cobb obviously never had to institute a new government mandate in her own business or she’d realize that there is an administrative cost associated with making such changes – no matter how ’easy’ she might think it would be.
The bottom line on the Sick Days Ohio initiative is this: even if Ohio workers think this is a good idea, job providers will see it as another costly mandate that will negatively impact both their bottom line and their ability to be flexible in today’s marketplace. Accordingly, when they have to decide where they’re going to locate or grow their business, they are more likely to choose somewhere else.
On the surface, it sounds like it might be a good idea for individual workers, but if it results in fewer employers, it’s not. When all the costs, implications and unintended consequences are considered, this is definitely a bad policy for Ohio and Ohioans.
I thought Thomas F. Pounds’ April 13 article on casinos ("Roll the dice") was excellent. I’m not a gambler myself and have only been in a casino once in my life but would fully support a casino in Downtown Toledo. I’ve said for years that the steam plant would be a perfect place but agree on the Portside idea as well. Wherever it is, you can bet restaurants will follow. With the Mud Hens already a great summer attraction, the new arena on its way, the convention center and hotels nearby as well as a new terminal for passenger ferrys Downtown, it seems like the perfect time to attract not only locally but also make it a destination to remember.
With the location Downtown, it’s not really in anyone’s "backyard," either. I hope you continue to support and promote this idea at Toledo Free Press.
MATT SCHULTZ, Maumee
I’m with you 100 percent on casinos!I’ve thought Toledo should have placed a casino in Toledo ever since casinos were announced in Detroit. However, it sure doesn’t belong Downtown! The proper place for it is the so called "Marina District." That way, east Toledo could benefit form the traffic, since Lucas County commissioners pulled the rug out from under the east side by yanking away the Sports Arena to Downtown.
A casino would surely encourage cruise ship passengers to come to Toledo, get off the ship, leave their money here and sail off into the sunset. There has to be something to attract cruise ships to visit Toledo, and I’d guarantee this would play a big part to accomplish this goal. I was born in east Toledo, but haven’t lived there for more than 50 years. When I drive down Front Street, all I can see is blight, with no good ideas to save the area. Who in his right mind want to invest in an old run-down neighborhood? A casino would drive investment in the area, with hotels, motels, additional restaurants, maybe even residential investments.
Without a casino in Toledo, all I see is people boarding busses heading for Detroit, Mt. Pleasant, Traverse City, Manistee, Windsor and who knows how many other places, to give their money away, when we could keep it right here. For the life of me, I can’t figure why the people of Ohio are so against it, when it’s been proven the crime rate goes down, employment goes up and good things happen in those communities. Maybe we just don’t need the extra money. A casino belongs on the east side river bank!
BOB MITRO, Toledo