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Letters: Differing views on 'whiny' workers

The headline on Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s column asked, "When did U.S. workers get so whiny?" [Opinion, Sept. 8]

It happened when their wages didn't keep up with the cost of living, when working a 40-hour week left you below the poverty line, when CEOs began making 331 times the average worker, as their companies made record profits and hid them in the Caymans.

So that's why the working poor -- when did that phrase become part of our vocabulary? -- are whining.

But even graduates with advanced degrees are hard-pressed to get that first job that requires experience, or lots of hours of unpaid internships. Most start out with ridiculous amounts of debt because the cost of higher education is outrageous. What's more, many good-paying jobs with any sort of security -- something we used to have in the United States -- are no longer out there.

Yes, some people are doing well in this economy, but the majority is suffering. Paid vacations should be a right. They contribute to the quality of our family lives and make workers more productive.

The ultimate irony is that the U.S. workforce has been very productive. Its members just aren't the ones reaping the benefits of that productivity.

Suzanne Stone, Centerport

Congrats to Ruben Navarrette Jr. for his article on whiny workers.

What happened to a day's work for a day's pay? Too many think they're entitled. Others who have jobs but aren't making enough money do nothing but complain and make demands.

How about learning a trade or getting better educated so that you're an asset and qualify for a high-paying job?

Connie Kamen, Sound Beach

Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s piece is one of the most tone deaf I've read recently. At $13.25 an hour, someone working 40 hours a week would take home about $475 after taxes and withholdings for a whopping $25,000 a year!

That's plenty of money to raise a family on, save for retirement and provide for educating children. Plus, that worker might even qualify for food stamps, so it sounds like living in the lap of luxury.

The problem isn't "whiny" workers, but an upside-down economic system that so clearly favors the wealthy. Yes, the dreaded class warfare argument. Well, class warfare has been waged for a thousand years or so, and we the majority lost a long time ago -- and this comes from someone who owns a business and employs 10 people.

Michael D. Angiulo, Syosset

Critical of Democratic ticket

Did Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo even know there was an election ["Cuomo fends off challenge," News, Sept. 10]? First, he tried to get his opposition off the ballot, and then he refused to debate.

The lack of respect for the voters should have been enough for Newsday to withhold its endorsement.

James Coll, Seaford

Editor's note: The writer is the founder of, a nonprofit organization advocating for political reform.

How about taking care of U.S. people first? Lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul told a Bronx crowd she would put her "heart and soul" into helping enact the state's version of the Dream Act, a measure that would provide tuition and scholarships to immigrants who are here illegally and who seek financial aid for college ["Campaign for Dems' race down to last day," News, Sept. 8].

My son works two jobs, and his wife works a full-time job. They still have a tough time sending two girls to college.

John J. Lynch, Island Park

Segregation leads to disparate opportunity

Editorials such as "Southold's positive steps for affordable housing" [Aug. 26], and opinion columns by members of Newsday's editorial board, comment not only on the urgent need for affordable rental housing, but also on the underlying racism that continues to block development in communities across Long Island.

Recent national and local events have reminded us that Long Island, like the rest of our country, has many people who claim to believe in equal rights but whose behavior belies that claim.

Newsday often shines a light on racism, including our segregated housing, segregated schools and the shameful, catastrophic disparity of opportunity for African-Americans and Latinos on Long Island -- complicated, challenging topics many Long Island residents, leaders and decision-makers prefer to ignore, despite the resulting threat to Long Island's economy and future.

Marge Rogatz, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer is the president of Community Advocates Inc., a nonprofit organization that advocates for affordable and equitable housing on Long Island.