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Reader's View: Workers deserve to be treated well always

The April 1 letter, "Council has no place dictating to businesses," gave a good description of a common but, I think, limited idea of business. The idea was that the point of a business is to provide a return on the investment of its owners.That ...

The April 1 letter, "Council has no place dictating to businesses," gave a good description of a common but, I think, limited idea of business. The idea was that the point of a business is to provide a return on the investment of its owners.That is, the bottom line is of overweening importance and government should not interfere with a business by insisting its workers be treated well - in particular, by being provided sick days and paid time off.

I think this view of business as merely a profit-making enterprise is too narrow. Businesses also provide employment for their workers and goods and services to their customers and clients. In fact, I would say that the employment they provide and the goods and services they produce are the most important functions of businesses.

History has shown that without unions to protect workers and government regulations to limit the production of shoddy or dangerous products, businesses may treat their workers badly, endanger or cheat their customers, and damage the environment. The letter claimed government action is not necessary now because in the current tight labor market it makes sense for businesses to offer employees sick days or paid time off. It may be in the interest of businesses to treat their workers well in times of a tight labor market, but it is in the interest of workers to be treated well all the time.

Business involves workers and customers as well as profits. If, as the letter suggested, business concentrates on profits, someone else should care about workers and consumers. When government regulates business, the purpose is not to interfere with business; it is to protect workers, consumers, and the environment.

Dick Green

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Duluth

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