Company needs Ford at the helm

December 03, 2007 12:00 am

To the editor:

So U.S. Timber wants to use inmate labor. The reason being they can't keep employees. No surprise, if they are paying minimum wage.

An employee who is single receiving minimum wage, less Social Security, unemployment and income tax deductions, would have a hard time supporting himself, let alone if he or she has one.

The large turnover of employees tells one there is a problem, whether it be management, working conditions or salary — maybe all three.

I have no problem with the inmates doing work for the city, county or state projects. I do have a problem with private enterprise wishing to use inmates so they may benefit and not have to pay a decent wage, so that their employees can support themselves and their family. I will bet that managers are not supporting themselves on minimum wages.

If U.S. Timber does get to use inmates for their labor force, perhaps it will send a message to the rest of Oregon: "Come to Baker County for cheap inmate labor."

Henry Ford was smart enough to pay his employees enough money so they could support themselves and still buy the product they were producing.

Think on it. Maybe U.S. Timber needs a Henry Ford at the helm.

John M. Smith

Baker City