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We can do more to help those who need reproductive health care

In Chicago, we can make an enormous difference in providing access to critical reproductive health care. Wade leaves us feeling outraged and helpless, that’s not productive.

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

Last week, three states — Idaho, Tennessee and Texas — allowed their trigger laws to make all abortion illegal. There is much you can do to address the attacks on women and women’s health care in response to the Dobbs decision and the trigger laws prohibiting women’s control over their own bodies.

Chicago and Illinois are an oasis for women’s health care, but we can’t be content with that 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.Support them.If you need to know who these organizations are, contact me .

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

SEND LETTERS TO: [email protected]. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your 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 thoroughly vetted and classified as 501c3 non-profits by the IRS, so support for them is tax deductible.

There are also wonderful national and local organizations committed to protecting and promoting voting rights and to countering voter suppression, so we can ameliorate the damage that has been done to our rights and our democracy.

Find them. Support them. Get involved!

Hedy Ratner, Women’s Business Development Center

No shortcuts in construction

We live in a time when quick wins are valued over long-term progress. Instant gratification delays real progress. We purchase products that are less expensive, to the detriment of the environment, human rights and, in the long term, our pocket book.

Prioritizing near-term savings over long-term benefits happens in the construction industry, too. With the unparalleled level of education, focus 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 continuing education for journeypersons, there’s a real, demonstrated value to choosing a union electrical contractor.

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

As we near the one-year anniversary of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the distinction between union and non-union labor is even clearer. With funding to build a nationwide network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, transportation improvements and more, it’s crucial to spend taxpayer dollars with a focus on high-quality work through highly-skilled workers.

One way the local union electrical industry demonstrates its commitment and long-term value is by investing in the IBEW-NECA Technical Institute in Alsip. While non-union training programs vary, I’ve never heard of one that is as innovative, thorough and focused on safety as ours.

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

This Labor Day, let us remember why construction is one area where we can’t afford to sacrifice knowledge and expertise for short-term savings.

Elbert Walters III, executive director, Powering Chicago

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