Syngenta settlement cause for concern
It has been with increasing alarm that I have learned of the pesticide exposure on this island. As a pediatrician I am particularly concerned regarding the consequences for our most vulnerable local people.
It was with great dismay that I learned today that Syngenta was able to lower the fine for the misuse of their poisons from millions to a paltry fraction. This company had revenue in excess of $12 billion in 2016. Does anyone really believe this amount of fine matters to this giant company based in Switzerland?
It is also with great skepticism I view the amount allocated to training medical professionals to treat pesticide exposure. If this company was not bringing poisons and exposing our people, we would have no need of the tiny amount of money they are forced to pay for this training.
The most cynical aspect of the lawsuit would be how the company bet on waiting until after the 2016 election to settle. Well, they bet well. Instead of our island receiving over $4 million in compensation we must be satisfied with a fraction of this amount as the Trump administration appointed extremely environmentally unfriendly officials to the EPA.
Sydney Swetnam, Princeville
Unions fighting for working families
I keep hearing about how great the economy is doing and how the stock market is booming, but that isn’t the reality for the parents in the schools where I work. I see parents who work two or sometimes three jobs and still struggle to make ends meet.
Working families on Kauai need a leg up, and they get the boost they need with the freedom to join in strong unions. Unions have always provided the best path to the middle class for working people.
As a preschool teacher at Wilcox Elementary for the last six years and now a district special education preschool resource teacher for the island of Kauai, I know that a strong union is what helps to ensure students receive the tools and resources they need to succeed in school and in life.
Through my union, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, I have the freedom to negotiate better pay and provide stability for my family, and to win the learning opportunities — such as class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention — for my students.
The truth is, unions use their collective voice to advocate for policies that benefit all working people — like increases to the minimum wage, affordable health care and great public schools that provide our students with the support and tools to learn.
Unfortunately, some corporate special interests have rigged our economy and now want to make it even harder for workers to use our collective power. They have brought a meritless case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, in the hope of dividing working people, silencing us, and limiting the power we have in numbers.
They know how powerful we can be when we speak together for our students, families and communities. It is time for us to come together and support the freedom of working people to join labor unions.
Marla Domingo, Kapaa