News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Intersection work not worth the cost

To The Daily: The government waste of money and time continues with the roadwork at Spring Avenue and the Beltline.

So we are inconvenienced with a minute or two wait at that intersection, even then the wait is at rush-hour traffic. Take a ride around Atlanta and you have an hour or two wait. Being from Detroit, I worked downtown and can remember traveling a distance of from Decatur to Hartselle taking up to an hour or more. The time element that we will save at that intersection is minimal to say the least.

The inconvenience of traveling through the construction area will be a royal pain for the citizens who live in the area, me included.

The only benefit is that we taxpayers have to pay for more government waste — city, state and federal. One of the worst is the Tea Board that the federal government has maintained since the Boston Tea Party.

That $266,000 could be put to better use for the citizens of the city, state and federal government such as reducing our debt or filling potholes around the city and county. I could continue for another 10 pages. The government wastes more money and things are rarely, if ever, for the better.

Gary Keebaugh

Railroad workers protested conditions

To The Daily: The streets of Decatur were full of confusion and dismay in July of 1922. In earlier Julys, there had been less confusion and more celebrating with the birth of our country.

This gathering was not in the spirit of our Independence Day, but the independence of labor. The Shopmen’s Labor Unions rallied to protest wage reductions; this occupied the thoughts of 1,700 men out of 1,833 from the Decatur, Louisville and Nashville shops. Away from this crowd, several community leaders and the local Chamber of Commerce were meeting to discuss how they could control the situation. One man suggested they arm and create a special police force to protect the property of the railroad and their businesses.

The local attorney for L&N thought they might need to call in the state militia. As the meeting proceeded, another member stared out the second floor window. Suddenly he spoke. “I thought it was against the law to picket in this state.” The lawyer replied, “It sure is.” “Well,” answered the chamber member, “you better see this; the whole bunch is marching down Second Avenue.”

The general strike consisted of 400,000 union shopmen across the country. The railroad’s labor wage deductions amounted to $134,000,000 for more than 1 million railroad employees. The railroad labor unions, under the direction of the American Federation of Labor, instructed the Decatur shops to join the national strike. The 1,700 union shopmen from Decatur were part of 10,000 other Alabama union members employed by the L&N Railroad that went on strike. At 10 a.m., they all peaceably laid down their tools and walked off the job in what they believed was full solidarity.

These men left the shops in protest of wage cuts, unfair treatment, and unsafe working conditions in agreement with union rules on July 1, 1922.

Phillip M. Chenault

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