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I feel compelled to respond to the letter I read in the Mountain Democrat on Monday written by a person who had extremely negative things to say about the striking workers at our local Raley’s. I would urge that writer and everyone else in our community to look at the picket lines with a different perspective. These striking workers, labeled as “thugs” by the writer, are members of our community, our neighbors. What they are doing is courageous and worthy of our respect and support. In these times of great bias against all things “union,” I think that many people forget (or never knew) that in the not so distant past, workers in all areas of manufacture and service industries had no rights, no safety regulations to protect them, no health, retirement or other benefits, and no guarantee of even close to a living wage. Eight-hour workdays and five-day work weeks are things many of take for granted and it is only through the fact of collective bargaining that any of us enjoy those things today. And in heavily non-unionized areas of the country or certain severely anti-union companies, workers still do not have many of these things. I have also heard people complain about how they dislike shopping at Raley’s because it is more expensive than some other stores — I would urge folks with that attitude to recognize that paying slightly more is worth it if the people working in that store actually get fairly treated. I have shopped at Raley’s for many years and would not cross that picket line if they were giving food away for free (which they actually advertised). I urge the management of the Raley’s company to bargain fairly and in good faith with their employees. I further urge folks in our community to stop by Raley’s and instead of going inside for some “bargains,” offer some hot coffee and encouragement to the people out on that line.