Skip to main content

In Chicago, we can make a huge difference by providing access to essential reproductive health care. Although the overthrow of Roe v. Wade leaves us feeling outraged and helpless, it’s not productive.

All around us, in Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Indiana, the despair is real. But not here. Illinois and Minnesota have expanded women’s access to full control over their own bodies.

Last week, three states — Idaho, Tennessee and Texas — allowed their trigger laws to make all abortions illegal. There is a lot you can do to respond to the attacks on women and women’s health care in response to the Dobbs decision and trigger laws prohibiting women from controlling their own bodies.

Chicago and Illinois are an oasis for women’s health care, but we cannot be content with this reality.

We can support direct support services, for women already here and those coming to Illinois, connecting them to the many local resources and organizations they need to access care. Find them. Encourage them. If you need to know who these organizations are, contact me.

You can contribute to some of the most effective organizations that provide women’s health care and abortion services, and help support the women who need it most.

SEND LETTERS TO: [email protected] We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, neighborhood or hometown, and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

There are many wonderful organizations that have been carefully vetted and classified as 501c3 nonprofits by the IRS, so their support is tax deductible.

There are also wonderful national and local organizations committed to protecting and promoting the right to vote and fighting voter suppression, so that we can ameliorate the damage to our rights and our democracy.

Find them. Encourage them. To be involved!

Hedy Ratner, Women’s Business Development Center

No shortcuts in construction

We live in an age where quick wins are valued over long-term progress. Instant gratification delays real progress. We buy cheaper products, at the expense of the environment, human rights and ultimately our wallet.

The prioritization of short-term savings over long-term benefits also occurs in the construction industry. With the unparalleled level of education, emphasis on safety and access to training that electrical contractors and union electricians receive from the National Electrical Contractors Association and registered apprenticeship programs, as well as training continues companions, there is real and demonstrated value in choosing an electrical contractor union.

At Powering Chicago, a union-management partnership of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors Association of Chicago and Cook County, we’re ready to lend our expertise.

As we approach the first anniversary of the Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the distinction between union and non-union workers is even clearer. With funding to build a nationwide network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, transportation upgrades and more, it’s crucial to spend taxpayer dollars with a focus on high-quality work by highly skilled workers.

One of the ways in which the local union electrical industry demonstrates its long-term commitment and value is by investing in the IBEW-NECA Technical Institute in Alsip. Although non-union training programs vary, I have never heard of a program as innovative, thorough and safety-focused as ours.

Not everyone has the desire or the means to pursue higher education. Careers in the trades can offer decent wages, excellent benefits and real opportunities. Each person who completes the apprenticeship program earns a journeyman’s wage, which can be nearly or nearly double the estimated $55,260 annual salary of a new college graduate during a 40-hour workweek.

This Labor Day, let’s remember why construction is an area where we cannot afford to sacrifice knowledge and expertise for short-term savings.

Elbert Walters III, Executive Director, Powering Chicago