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Letters - Page 5

"It is called the cash-balance plan, but after years of complaints, lawsuits and political hyperbole,
few politicians and fewer employers want to go near such a plan." – The Washington Post

The Medicare Joke on Seniors

Employee Advocate – – November 20, 2005

The letter below was published in The Charlotte Observer on November 20, 2005. It shows that seniors are finding out that G. W. Bush’s attempt to privatize Medicare was never intended to help them. The AARP aided and abetted Bush by spending millions of dollars for advertisements, designed to sell the bill. The bill will serve Bush’s cronies well. It will also boost AARP’s insurance sales. Not only are the changes to Medicare a bureaucratic nightmare, but they add another hardship to the lives of many senior citizens. To some, the added hardship will prove fatal.

Who is saving money with Medicare changes? Not me

While trying to navigate the new Medicare prescription drug plan for seniors, I found only a dead end. I think I got it, then my drug is unavailable or my drugs cost more than I pay now. My trustworthy doctors prescribe brand names, but no generics available.

Many genius hours and dollars have gone into this cruel joke. The ads say save up to 50 percent. Where and how? Misleading? The real beneficiaries seem to be the insurance plans and/or the drug companies. Does this call for a senior strike or what? We are pawns to big business and politicians who are laughing all the way to the bank!

Ethel Gordon


One Thousand Lobbyists

Loss of Retiree Benefits

Employee Advocate – – November 4, 2005

This message is from an involuntary retiree. Retirees that were promised pension and health benefits are finding that both are fading away. When it takes all of retirees’ reduced pensions to pay for their “no cost” heath coverage, some have to choose between the two. They can have only a meager pension or only health coverage, never both.

To Duke Retirees,

Like many others, I have experienced loss of benefits since layoff and retirement. I was a former employee of Alcatel USA, aka Alcatel North America. In my case I was also previously an employee of Rockwell International/Collins Radio. The benefits from that company carried forward with enhancements in the 1990s following purchase of the telecommunications design/manufacturing group by Alcatel.

Our retiree group has also started a lawsuit dealing with loss of medical annuities to help pay for our healthcare insurance, especially those of us who were forced to retire early following layoff. In my case, combined premium costs for Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO Standard for my wife and I are running $1376 per month. It consumes all of my SS monthly income plus some. We are having to restrict our driving and many activities because of the impact of the increased cost of insurance.

When I first retired in 2003 we received an annuity that reduced our cost to about $860 per month. That was still expensive, but at least we could manage to do some things we had wanted to do in retirement. Now with the increased costs for fuel (including LP gas for heating our home) we have to restrict our purchases to only essentials and basically no travel except for family emergencies.

Our sympathies are with you and your group as you battle loss of benefits.

Coming Clean After Election

Employee Advocate – – September 25, 2005

This letter to the editor was published by The Charlotte Observer on September 24, 2005:

One Republican: `You're right, shame on me'

As a Republican, it saddens me to agree 100 percent with the well-written letter from Byron Baldwin. I feel I am one of those "decent Republicans who allowed their party to be hijacked." Shame on me.

Dan Laurent


Sad Consequence

Sad Consequence

Employee Advocate – – September 25, 2005

This letter to the editor was published by The Charlotte Observer on September 21, 2005:

Bush is sad consequence of nation's passivity

It's not really Bush's fault. He is what he is and always will be, a basically good man with little intellectual curiosity who never prepared himself for the very serious job he now has. The real fault lies with American people who elected him, especially the decent Republicans who allowed their party to be hijacked by the likes of Karl Rove.

Years from now historians will characterize the eight years of George W. Bush as a time of lost opportunities, poor judgment, failed policies and a worldwide loss of respect for our nation. A time when deception, political opportunism, payoffs to supporters and an appalling lack of leadership led to frightening consequences.

Byron Baldwin


Don’t be Too Smug About Disaster

Employee Advocate – – September 20, 2005

This letter to the editor was published in The Charlotte Observer on September 17, 2005:

How smart are WE living near McGuire?

In response to "New Orleans, it's time to say farewell" (Sept. 16 Forum):

So Joseph Weglarz thinks people "should use their brains before moving to disaster-prone areas"? Does he realize how close we are to the McGuire and Catawba nuclear plants? What if terrorists struck both these plants in a coordinated attack similar to 9-11?

Mark Cauthen


Want to Buy Some Water?

Employee Advocate – – September 16, 2005

This letter to the editor was published by The Charlotte Observer on September 15, 2005:

Duke Power, hands off our lake water

In response to "Duke eyes fees for Catawba water use" (Aug. 25):

Duke Power owns the land under the lake, not the water that runs into the lake. Instead, Duke should pay for using this water to generate the power for which it charges users.

Harold D. Poole

Denver, N.C.

Duke Power Wants to Charge for Lake Water

Converting Nukes to Green

Employee Advocate – – September 7, 2005

This message was sent in by a reader. A reply will be posted.

It was horrible for me to find out that my daughter and her family is at greater risk than I am. I am 15 miles down wind from Beaver Valley 1&2. She lives in Charlotte and is SURROUNDED by Nukes.

How come you don't have a movement to convert them all to green fuel fired boilers?


Ronald J. Gramm
113 Snowden Drive
Pittsburgh PA 15229

Mr. Gramm also sent a copy of his letter to the president:

Dear Mister President:

Political Help and, Anti-Nuclear Material for Your Staff to Reject


As a single individual who has always been a Republican since being raised in a liberal catholic school system for 12 years in Pittsburgh PA, I am now re-thinking my trust in your good judgment. So far, except for your foolish position of supporting nuclear energy, I have been a Bush supporter and a solid party member. This nuclear power plant stuff is so bad for America, the environment and the health of all of our citizens. Unless you can fully discuss and understand the risks and the rewards of nuclear power, I am considering switching my party. So what, I am writing this to myself anyway.

My degree in Physics and Mathematics is no help because as a physics major I was exposed to Westinghouse engineers who proudly gave us lectures of the Neutron density across the diameter of the Shippingport reactor when in 1956 it was illegal to do so. I developed film for the PhDs who were experimenting at the Pitt Cyclotron and we all trusted the “Atoms for Peace” initiative which has since been discredited, miss-used and violated by greedy and power hungry politicians the world over.

Lately, it is the little bits and pieces of news that are more and more getting my intention like “Tritium” and “Radio-active Iodine” pills, that I do not qualify for because I am 14 miles from Beaver Valley #1 and #2 nuclear power plants, instead of 10 miles away.

As the president of the party in power and with 3 republican Nuclear Regulatory Commission members against a lone democrat and a vacant seat, you have a very power packed position to approve the 2 license extensions already in house and one from Beaver Valley which is on the way. The one for Beaver Valley personally affects me as the existence always has for many years. Please reject all 3 for political reasons.

Recently, I e-mailed the NRC and the response was quick and very thorough in the matter of the remote possibility of the storage pools in our nuclear utilities being subject to terrorist attack and the possibility of going critical if the rods are exposed too long or if there if there is physical damage to them so as to move the material closer together and cause a reaction that cannot be stopped. With all the PhDs in the national laboratories in the assurance, as well as government security personnel involved, the reply was very professional and unsatisfying because of security reasons. This means that if the terrorists do exactly the right thing for a long enough time they can accomplish the worst. My reply was that they were “in denial of Murphy’s Law.”

I realize that I am only one lonely republican voice crying in the wilderness of an un-responsive and too busy federal government, but I am convinced that republicans as a party will suffer in all future elections unless you denounce Nuclear Power in favor of Green Fired boilers that allow the conversion to allow the rest of the nuclear plants to provide good power as they always have. Please have DOE check out the truth of the University of Wisconsin Green Fuel process (which can also get us off the oil kick) to make sure it is for real and is quickly implemented without government interference.

If you lead the way to converting the nuke plants to green fuel energy you will strike a blow at the democrats that they will NEVER recover from. A good decision is needed.



I just found out that my Daughters family is 17 miles from 1400 Tons that includes 22,000 pounds of U235 and 25,000 pounds of Plutonium.

Murphy’s Law in Action

As a single individual with a limited amount of time available to get into something like this, I ask you, on a most urgent basis, to immediately take action to move the nuclear waste that is sitting near ALL the cities in the eastern half of the United States to a remote and secure place. As I mentioned to the NRC, this business of having pat answers (to safety questions about is the storage pools being subject to cataclysmic failure if attacked by terrorists or in the event of an accident that knocks the pool roof into the bath) is a denial of Murphy’s Law.

The nuclear physicists and scientists from the 50’s really did not know what they were dealing with, and the discovery of the Quarks and gluon inside a Neutron is the proof. Now, a whole range of waste byproducts are produced as a result of the initial reaction in the reactor and NOBODY has even a small percentage of the needed answers as to what is happening. Where the answers exist, the people keep their mouth shut.

McGuire #1 and #2 on Lake Norman are Silent, Beautiful, Unsafe, Filthy Nuclear Power, Busy Producing 60 Tons of Nuclear Waste Per Year, and Busy Contaminating Lake Norman Every Day.

Varring estimates of the amount of waste produced have been offered. The Employee Advocate neither agrees nor disagrees with any numbers presented.

I admit to using one-sided, anti-nuclear rhetoric so far in today’s effort to get some attention focused on these two reactors because they are typical of the 7 reactors that are in the area of my daughter’s house the Charlotte and northern South Carolina area. It raises the tonnage of bad stuff to a whopping 4400 tons which is 9.4 % of all the nuclear waste in America that is affecting my family.

The financial strength of Duke Power (who use the buzz words of Safe, Clean Nuclear Power and who have an unhealthy fear of CO2 which is one of the most important gases that God has provided to give us all food and support all life on the planet (along with sunlight and water), has always over shadowed the anti-nuclear advocates, their customers and reports to NOBODY but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that you personally control.

This is meant to be a positive complement to you. You have done well so far and you have changed America and the world with the spread of freedom and solid fiscal responsibility.

Therefore, I ask a little bit more of your time to take a look at to get a feel for how things are going in the area where my daughter lives.

The Duke employees do not realize that the answer is for all of them in both states to buy as much Duke stock as they can possibly afford and form an investment equity capital holding company and get control of all the stock. Then, they can phase out the reactors, 2 at a tine, and replace them with green fuel fired boilers. Ant then they can quit wasting their time and money doing all those ineffective anti-nuke and be FOR fun stuff and all the environmental things that democrats like but never get done. The Carolinas can grow all the fuel they need and maybe they can cut back on growing tobacco at the same time.

President Eisenhower had his “Atoms for Peace” and it was really good for awhile. Now it is time for President Bush to have the “Bush Green Fuel Initiative.”

Get busy on the Bush, “Convert The Nukes to Green Fuel Boilers” initiative and save many hundreds of billions of dollars being wasted to support the nuclear industry, fool with the fuel, train the commission and plant employees, secure the power plants, store the fuel, pay all the institutional hangers-oners and paperwork pushers etc.

By green fuel, I mean all the normal things grown by sunshine, water and CO2 such as wood chips, coffee grounds, grass clippings, Autumn leaves, news paper and segregated trash, sugar cane and corn stalks or any thing else that one could conceive of. And, of course, carefully study to see if the University of Wisconsin Breakthrough is for real so all that green stuff can be converted to a good liquid green fuel that will be easy to use in the green fuel converted nuclear boiler plants as well as all of out transportation fuel.

You realize, of course, that the new Bush Green Fuel Initiative stuff can gradually be worked in to supplement and then to replace all the coal now burned with the acid rain abatement and fly ash problems.

I do believe that you have a political situation that permits you to do just about anything you want for 3 more years and it would be much better for your party if you used a stroke of Bush Genius to get some of the things done that the democrats always talk about but never get done.

To further give you information, please go to:

I hope you do not find the material I am sending to you childish or un-important but it was necessary for me to see it to have established the mental position that I now have since I rejected nuclear back in 1958 and did not bother to see how it was doing.

I am still a Bush supporter and I hope you can see it to study the entire matter and get the country moving in the right direction with the Bush Green Fuel Nuke Conversion Initiative.


Ron J. Gramm

Converting Nukes to Green Reply

Young Duke Energy Workers Also Lose

Employee Advocate – – September 2, 2005

A reader zeros in on the pension plight of younger Duke Energy workers:

Duke's Promise to Younger Workers

The article concerning DUKE'S IMPLIED CONTRACT brought up the promises made to younger workers AFTER the Pan Energy merger. The pension balance of younger workers were reduced dramatically when Duke went to the Cash Balance Plan. These young workers were told by Human Resources and Management that they would still be better off because staying with Duke until they retired would give them more than the old plan. This satisfied many of the ones who questioned the new plan, because it did make sense to them that Duke would retain them if they did a good job and were good employees. Sadly, many of these younger workers were not given the opportunity to exercise the avenue of longevity, because Duke has had many outsourcing activities since this promise was made.

The maintenance group, mail room at the GO, some of the communications group and the more recent back office HR employees all had members who were affected by this "adjustment," due to their youth. Now they are outsourced and the company will not have to honor this promise to them; the promise they will have more at the end of the road based on longevity. It is interesting to note that Duke was really big on promoting integrity during this same time frame. These affected employees took an approximate 30% pay cut after being outsourced if the pension and benefits are factored in. It is also interesting to note the managers of these groups received substantial pay increases and bonuses for their contribution in supporting this carnage of the hourly worker. This simultaneous reduction in craft pay with an increase in management pay is one thing that has raised suspicion concerning Duke's message of integrity. These young workers are now working for less money and will never recoup their pension balance unless litigation prevails. The promise made to them should be enough to support litigation in favor of the young employees, since this occurred AFTER the merger.

This can never be fully reconciled unless the company offers the employees their jobs back with the original pension agreement. Duke's lack of commitment to the wage earner suggests this is not likely. A half-way measure could be financed by freezing managerial and executive pay and bonuses until this could be funded. This could at least fund the younger worker's accounts so dramatically decreased by the conversion. The avoidance of facing litigation, which is certain, would also be a substantial cost savings for Duke. The managers and executives would still fare much better than their once trusting employees. Apparently Duke's leaders have done what they do so well concerning their management of craft workers. The COMPANY OF CHOICE bullet was dodged by the merger but they made an even stronger CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT with these young workers by suggesting longevity. They were so focused on stepping out of one cow pile, they inadvertently stepped into another one with the other foot. Now it is on both shoes.

Duke has some talented leaders and many are very savvy in business. Their biggest downfall is how they handle the hourly worker. Duke could avoid negative Public Relations and court costs by treating their employees with more dignity and fairness. They would see an immediate change in employees' attitudes and much improvement on their Employee Opinion Survey. They run to and fro for advice from consultants. The Advocate provides the best consulting they could ever get and it is free!

A reader

Duke Energy’s Implied Contract

Duke Energy’s Implied Contract

Employee Advocate – – August 20, 2005

The message below was sent in by a reader. Such communications make it clear that employees, investors, and the public fully understand Duke Energy’s many ploys. Who is left to fool? Are the executives desperately trying to salvage a shred of dignity by conning each other?

The Company Of Choice

Duke power once had a big movement promoting that they (Duke) wanted to be the "employer of choice" and they wanted us to be their employees of choice. This was designed to offset the negative effects of the 1988 layoff wherein 10% of the employees were laid off and the executives got a 30% raise. This program was initiated to give the employee the warm fuzzy feeling of being valued. The company soon realized this had also initiated an implied CONTRACT with the employee, so they immediately started back peddling, in order to renege of the suggestion that they wanted any kind of long term commitment with the employee. The "New Culture" then emerged, which was designed to educate us that we must change. In other words, we must forget about Duke's implied contract.

Following these events, Duke hired some slicked up Industrial/Organization Psychology consultants in order to bend our thinking on workplace environment. These people presented this as something "new" but they really followed the format of Kurt Lewin in their efforts to make organizational change. Lewin died in 1947 so this was not anything new the consultants were presenting although they took credit for this innovative thinking. Lewin states three things must occur in order to change group dynamics. The present culture must be thawed so change could be suggested, the new culture must be instituted during this fluid state, and finally the new system of values/beliefs must be refrozen in order to set the new culture. The new culture is set with the understanding that change will be an ongoing event, in order to tweak the process. This concept of change then allowed the company to do many other things such as change (decrease) workers pay, job security, change pensions and employee expectations (lower). This could all be done in the name of change. But Duke still had the lingering problem of the implied contract.

The merger with Pan Energy was not only a business move to diversify Duke's business options but this merger could also be used to escape the contractual implications of the employer of choice. This is synonymous to the way politicians tack on bills in order to get the main bill passed. The merger would be the ticket to defaulting on the promises and still have clean hands. Right? Well, not since this article has exposed them. It is also noteworthy to see the vertical increases in executive compensation during this same time. The more they cut the employees the more they reward themselves with lavish compensation. Another downside is the fact that many employees turned down employment with other firms, while this "employer of choice" was being promoted. This is just another example of Duke's pillaging of their once trusting workforce. A thorough review should be conducted concerning the Duke/Cinergy merger, in order to prevent Duke from stealing even more from the employee. They are sure to take the worst of both worlds and combine them for the new company, where the employee is concerned, and the best of both worlds, where the executives are concerned. We can take some solace in the fact that we are aware of their scheming and conniving way of conducting business in the name of integrity. Breaking promises through mergers is very lucrative for the executives indeed and an excellent avenue to dodge accountability.

An avid reader of the Advocate

Lack of Executive Accountability at Duke Energy

Employee Advocate – – August 12, 2005

A reader/investor sent in comments that goes straight to the heart of the matter of corporate accountability, like a bolt from a crossbow:

Fred Fowler and Company

Accountability seems to be lacking in Duke's organizational structure, once someone is promoted to a certain level. It appears that many have been promoted to their level of incompetence and the executive board is content to live with this. If Fred Fowler thinks much of Duke Energy, he should consider partial or complete resignation. He should at least resign his role in the Safety Steering Team, along with his staff. His staff probably buys into everything Fred says, in suck-up fashion. This is part of the problem at Duke. Subordinates cannot challenge the opinions of their superiors without committing career suicide. This is due, at least in part, to the "right to work law" which is internalized by some (like Fred and Company) as a right to fire privilege. This creates conditions conducive to groupthink.

Paul Anderson should exercise this right concerning some of Duke's long term Kings and Queens of incompetence. If he fails to do so, he will then become a part of this incompetent culture. Fred's staff needs to quit laughing at every joke (even if they are not funny) he tells and buying into his illogical ideas. Mr. Anderson needs to make Fred accountable for his role at Duke or he (Paul) may be considered lacking in sound judgment. Incompetence needs to be thrown out, without the Golden Parachute, such as the one provided Mr. Priory on his departure. Duke needs to think of their business needs and investors above keeping favor with those who have failed. The common employee will not be mentioned here because that is too much to ask of Duke's exploitive regime. After all, it is they who are stolen from to make the executive's compensation so lucrative.

A concerned investor

Safety Cannot be Built Upon Rhetoric

Safety Cannot be Built Upon Rhetoric

Employee Advocate – – August 8, 2005

A reader cuts through Duke Energy’s safety rhetoric:

Three Deaths at Duke

Sadly, the news is getting to all sectors of our communities concerning the safety record we share at Duke. Many writers have expressed accurate analysis as to why Duke's Management is more accountable for this than they will admit. The "You are in my sights", "Duke's wrong philosophy on safety", and Fred Fowler's threatening posture as he condescendingly mandates "Zero anything bad." The executives and their underlings feel they must "get down" to the employees level but one writer accurately pointed out the fact they must "come up" to the employee's level.

They somehow feel they can THREATEN employees into working safely. Don't they realize this job threatening approach only adds stress to employees which takes the focus AWAY from safety. They should be tutoring craft people in a way that makes them CONFIDENT they can and will perform each task safely. Poke Yokes could be included in work processes to insure each personal safety component is in place. But no, they had rather play Gotcha and misuse training energy in lieu of authoritarianism. Blindness and incompetence go hand in hand.

Root causes should also be addressed. Isn't it a fact that Duke is not keeping their right of ways up the way they need to be? Many accidents are caused by cluttered right of ways. The impact of ice storms or summer storms is much greater due to the financial avoidance of keeping the right of ways SAFE. Perhaps Duke's management had rather wait for a storm and benefit from the EMERGENCY angle to addressing the right of way issue.

There must be an economic reason for allowing Duke's right of ways to become so UNSAFE. Perhaps Paul Anderson should have his underlings do a study on root causes instead of focusing so much on it being the employees fault. He is big on being proactive (Carbon Tax). At this juncture we must realize they HOPE this is the employees fault in order to avoid litigation. Therefore, they may look harder to find fault of the employee rather than being accountable for their own incompetence and lack of focus on relevant contributors to UNSAFE CONDITIONS. UNSAFE CONDITIONS such as knowingly placing workers in harms way concerning asbestos, lead paint, and isotopes are a few examples of how they can turn their head if they are accountable. The Genie is out of the bottle and we all know the incompetence guiding our safety program. Pride and arrogance are not good traits for improvement. Duke's executives have been invited "up" to the employees level. Let's pray they make the move.

A concerned reader

Another Death at Duke Energy

Environmental Spin

Employee Advocate – – July 24, 2005

A reader sent in these environmental comments:

Public Relations Spins Concerning Environment

Has anyone noticed the spins the corporate public relations are placing on the environment? One large oil company asks a woman would she rather give up her car or have cleaner air. Another large corporation boasts concerning their new "cleaner" Train. Do you suppose the cleaner train will make up for the total pollution they did to the Hudson River? Trains make up a tiny fraction of air pollution but it is a good image builder.

Duke is now getting into the "clean image" game by saying they are proactive in reducing emissions from their coal fired plants. The EPA has a plan to reduce emissions which our President feels places too big of a burden on the corporations. Of course, Mr. Anderson's solution is the creation of another tax to take care of the upgrades. Duke is having a problem understanding how the EPA plans to reduce emissions and have filed an appeal to allow their lobbyist, bought politicians and floors of shrewd lawyers time to shoot holes in the EPA's efforts. Well, Fred Fowler should be for the most stringent emission controls because this would help him meet his "zero" sickness goal. Employees with respiratory problems are surely affected by the dirty air from the belching smoke stacks. They really understand ... they just pretend they don't.

TONS of pollution being released into our atmosphere. We don't wish these corporations any harm. We depend on them for our livelihood. Most of us have stock in these companies. We support them with our loyalty and our labor. There is a difference in our stewardship of our environment compared to that of the corporations.

We don't dump our trash on our neighbors and wonder why there is a problem, but they do. They had rather pay the lawyers, politicians and leaders instead of paying for the clean-up. They need to be responsible and SAFE citizens like they teach us to be. Hopefully this will embarrass someone into doing the right thing and end this half truth, non assuming approach to such an important and far reaching health and safety issue.

A concerned citizen

Paul Anderson’s Tax Proposal

Duke Energy’s Wrong Philosophy

Employee Advocate – – July 23, 2005

This message was sent in by a reader concerned with Duke Energy’s philosophy on safety and the equitable treatment of employees.

Duke Has the Wrong Philosophy Concerning Safety

This "You are in my sights" slogan is an example of the threatening posture Duke Power Management adopts when handling safety or any other function of workplace discipline. They manage, not for the good of the company or the customer, but for their own career path. It is a "how can I make myself look good" approach. The entry level supervisory level are so narcissistic they cannot think of anything but how good they must look in their designer clothes and how they may ask the questions that most impress their superiors. They think profits and savings can only be achieved at the expense of the craft worker. They fall short in the areas of innovative solutions and critical problem solving. It is sometimes difficult to determine the difference between management and mismanagement.

The managers, with few exceptions, lean to their POWER and AUTHORITY when they are pushing something through. Unfortunately, this is not an efficient way to manage a company or its craft personnel. Perhaps they should follow Ford's lead and lean out some of this inefficiency by shedding the cost of these dead weights. It is just good business. In 2003 it was just business when they outsourced the maintenance group. It was just business to outsource the back office of the HR folks this year. The maintenance group's general manager at that time stooped to using an analogy of 9/11 in order to justify their layoff. The layoff was code named "Project Eagle" and was highly classified until they figured out just how to weed out the craft worker and keep everything else intact.

Notice the psychology used here. Project Eagle sounds very patriotic. The General Manager went all over the US and Canada with an HR sidekick and asked the same question: "How much have your lives changes since 9/11. Don't you still pet your dog, enjoy your favorite programs along with your favorite meal? So your lives really haven't changed that much since 9/11. But suppose I come up to you and say "YOU'RE FIRED!!!! (There was about 15 seconds of silence here which developed fear) Then how would THAT affect your lives!!!"

Of course, they let the Manager go in the layoff but that was by design. Machiavelli did this in THE PRINCE when he used the General to do the dirty work and publicly executed him to win the favor of the people back. But Corporate America has found a way to recycle these generals and use them over and over. This man and his sidekick were downsizing specialist. The executives were a part of this act as well and Mr. Anderson just folded his arms and let this happen. Now he wants to put Humpty back together again. Or so he claims.

Duke claims to be an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. This claim should be stripped from them because of PROJECT EAGLE and the more recent displacement of the HR back office folks. This is just another way Duke Managers are STEALING promised pensions, benefits and employment security from loyal, trusting individuals. The misguided philosophy concerning safety is understandable when one considers how they handle other aspects of business. A good house cleaning would be in order at this point.

A concerned reader

A Death a Day at Duke Energy

The Employee Survey Spin

Employee Advocate – – July 14, 2005

This message was sent in by a reader:

Have our executives changed or just gotten better?

Blissful irony emerged during the 2005 Duke Power Opinion Survey. The famous (infamous if you are a Duke executive) documentary HARLAN COUNTY WAR was being aired during the same time window as the survey was being gathered. A cut and paste reads:

The 11 month strike was one of the most reported on events in Kentucky history and showed just how far Duke's corporate head, Carl Horn and Eastover's president, Norman Yarborogh would go to break the workers will. Since this was the peak of the '70's energy crisis and thus the coal boom, Duke Power had to keep receiving coal from these company owned mines and brought in replacement, non-union miners who would not respect the picket lines.

Please note the word "replacement" and let's apply this replacement concept to today's world. Please realize the same strategic partners (risk management, external and internal legal council, and human resources were in play during the Harlan County event. In the 70's, during this labor dispute, the company met the employees with direct conflict. Now they do this in a much more sophisticated fashion. The company, their lawyers, and human resources are in an active mode to take all they can from the worker. Preventing bad matters from getting worse can only be achieved like they did in Harlan County. Organize.

Don't be fooled, the company would like to outsource your work if they knew how to go about it. This is the new approach to "replacement". They have already outsourced several departments and more are sure to follow. The Bush administration is also a good catalyst for running rough shod over the working individuals. This administration promotes abuse of the working class. This is why the bosses are all republican. The union is here and we can join. The dues will be the best insurance policy you have ever bought for your family's security.

A concerned reader

2005 Employee Opinion Survey

Where the Give Away Money Comes From

Employee Advocate – – June 19, 2005

This letter to the editor was published by The Charlotte Observer on June 19, 2005.

Who pays for arts? Duke Power or its customers?

In response to "Say `yes' now to city arts plan" (June 12):

Ruth Shaw's attempt to pass off Duke Power as private enterprise is farcical. The man who cooks hot dogs at Trade and Tryon is in private business; Duke Power is a bloated monopoly forced onto N.C. citizens who have no alternative.

Altruism is a worthwhile goal. Charging customers exorbitant rates, then lavishing the surplus funds on other organizations that cannot support themselves is not altruism, but is simply another form of forced taxation. Duke Power does not support the arts. Duke's "customers" are forced to pay for them.

John Kemp


The CEO Influence

Employee Advocate – – June 5, 2005

This letter to the editor was published June 5, 2005 by The Charlotte Observer:

CEOs speak loudly in public policy debate

In response to "America's CEOs are MIA" (May 27 Viewpoint):

Contrary to Thomas L. Friedman's lament, our nation's business leaders have been highly effective in shaping public policy.

If you're a CEO earning millions or tens of millions of dollars, your first priority was elimination of the inheritance tax coupled with drastic cuts in taxes on dividends and capital gains. Those tax changes liberated you and your descendants from ever again having to work for a living.

Once that goal was accomplished, you backed artificially low interest rates to assure that inflation would outstrip wages and fatten your profit margins. Next you supported unfettered free trade enabling you to export plants and jobs to low-wage countries overseas. Finally you backed wide-open immigration to keep pressure on wages here in the United States.

Michael Caracappa


Hero CEO's?

Employee Advocate – – May 27, 2005

A reader sent the message below, which covers a variety of pertinent topics:

Our Heroes

The Senate is in debate as this note is being written concerning the nomination of John Bolton. A mountain of evidence has been presented as to why this nominee should not go forward; but he will. This method of running rough- shod over the face of facts has permeated our corporate and political cultures and these methods leave the working class to fend for themselves.

The Bolton nomination brought to mind some events we have witnessed in some of our large corporations. Jack Welsh is now on the road promoting his new book entitled Winning. One student from Sacred Heart College asked him a standard question. He asked Mr. Welch what he would change if he could make an adjustment concerning his life and career. Mr. Welch informed the young man in a condescending fashion that he would not change anything. He seemed so confident that he had done all the right things. He seemed so sure.

The Hudson River is now undergoing a massive clean up to remove PCB from the river floor. Of course, this is just a gesture. General Electric dumped tons of this toxic material into a historic river. Mr. Welch was at the helm during this time of reckless environmental deviance. Profits would have suffered if the hazardous waste had been controlled thus preventing entry into the environment. I suppose Mr. Welch was doing some of his more benevolent duties such as tending to widows and orphans and failed to see this enormous oversight. So Mr. Welch was not perfect. Everyone that reads this probably has PCB in their body due to Mr. Welch's oversight. You children have PCB in their system and their children will. Why are these leaders heralded as such heroes?

As this article is being written a news flash just went across that the bill passed preventing lawsuits against asbestos damage and death. The cut and paste reads:

WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) - Legislation to create a $140 billion asbestos compensation fund was approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday in a 13-5 vote.

The fund, aimed at eliminating asbestos injury lawsuits, would be financed by companies facing asbestos litigation and their insurers. Victims would no longer be able to sue, but would go to the fund for payment.

The dangers of asbestos have been well documented since 1956! Yet our corporate leaders KNOWINGLY placed workers in harms way and now they are being bailed out by the political system to prevent US citizens from exercising their right to legal protection. At 2:30 PM on May 26, 2005 our right to exercise legal options were taken from us by our Senators. They are bought and owned by the same corporations that abuse our labor and poison our environment.

Mercury is another deadly neurotoxin that is expelled by the tons by our utility companies. Now they want the taxpayer to pay for their clean up. They will probably have their way with this steam-roller administration taking all they can from the average citizen while they are in power.

We only have one option at this point. Every American worker needs to join the union and pay dues. That is our only hope at this point. All other options have failed. We have no other hope on the horizon. We should see by now that neither the corporations nor this administration are looking out for our best interest. Social security is evaporating.

Pensions are being raided. Jobs are being given to non citizens as we linger in this stupor of false hope that things will somehow get better. They will only get better if we unite.

A concerned reader

Big Benefit: Job Cuts

Employee Advocate – – May 23, 2005

This letter to the editor was published in The Charlotte Observer on May 22, 2005:

Job cuts not grounds for deal

Regarding the Duke Power and Cinergy merger, the only benefit the CEO could tout was the ability to cut 1,500 jobs. Nothing was said about improved reliability. Nothing about greater resources to develop new technology. It's all about cutting jobs. The various regulatory agencies that have to approve this merger should do so only if it is good for America. If it doesn't improve the power grid, and it doesn't bring renewable energy sources closer to reality, then the only reason to approve it would be if it created 1,500 new jobs. That would be a benefit. The current plan is not.

Jim Sharp


Pension Fund Sues Cinergy Over Duke Merger

Will Bush Need Social Security?

Employee Advocate – – May 9, 2005

This letter to the editor was published in The Charlotte Observer on May 8, 2005:

Social Security isn't relevant to politicians

Like most politicians, Bush is too secure to care about Social Security. They want to extend the age for retirement at a time when jobs are harder to find. I am 54 and laid off. I'm unable to get an interview, never mind a good job. I had looked forward to retirement, but by the time I get there, I will have sold off all my possessions. Too bad if we all live longer now. When I did invest in America, the mutuals and stocks lost 50 percent of my money, which I can't seem to make back. Please, politicians, look at the real life of baby boomers -- it's a bit dismal!

R.P. Therriault

Fort Mill

More Workers’ Comp Bad News

Employee Advocate – – May 8, 2005

This letter was published by The Charlotte Observer on May 7, 2005. It details more of the horrors of N. C. Sen. David Hoyle's bill to weaken the workers' compensation law even more:

Workers comp bill would 'starve' victims

The writer is a lawyer, board certified in workers' compensation law.

In response to "Who benefits?" (May 4):

Thanks for your excellent editorial on the workers compensation reform bill in the N.C. Senate. Here is more:

David Hoyle's bill, co-sponsored by Malcolm Graham, is even worse than you suggest. Under current law, the employer has 14 days to decide whether to pay an injured worker's claim. Under the proposed bill the employer gets an additional 90 days to make that decision. If a worker suffers a catastrophic injury right in front of his boss in an obviously compensable accident, the employer will get to wait 104 days before it has to pay the first dollar in wage loss or medical treatment. There is no legitimate reason for this "starve out" provision, which will force badly injured workers to accept grossly unfair settlements in order to keep their homes and feed their children.

Bob Bollinger


D-Day: Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Public Knows

Employee Advocate – – April 19, 2005

The letter below was published April 18, 2005 in The Charlotte Observer:

Environment, residents have no ally in Duke

In response to "Duke land sales yield fallout on licensing" (April 13):

The disdain of Duke Energy and Crescent Resources for residents of the Catawba River basin is old news. Duke has proven it feels totally unencumbered by environmental responsibility.

If truth were told, Duke's land-development arm, Crescent Resources, wouldn't have any resources if not for the generosity of the river basin's residents. If Duke wanted to act responsibly, it would accommodate every request to protect the Catawba watershed and assist local municipalities in offering public access to our waterways. But what should be a clear corporate ethical mandate for Duke is obfuscated by its greed.

Paul Moffett


Letters - Page 4