Northwest NEWS

April 26, 1999


It's important that people have the opportunity to support their families

   There is a Woodinville woman who deserves praise for standing up for what is right.

   Linda Barber is one of thousands of Boeing workers being laid off in Washington state. She stood up on the steps of the Capitol recently, in front of TV cameras, thousands of people, and the press, and told her story.

   Linda worked for 13 years at Boeing, and her skills are very Boeing-specific. She's got a family that depends on her support, and because of her specialized skills, it's not likely she'll quickly find another job at the same pay. It'll take time to retrain her, and tens of thousands of laid-off Boeing workers like her, for work in other fields.

   That's why Linda spoke out for legislation before the House of Representatives that would help former Boeing workers. Senate Bill 5819 would extend unemployment benefits for aerospace and timber workers like Linda so they can learn new skills and find decent, family-wage jobs.

   I was proud to hear one of our own speak at the rally, and I was happy to see her put a human face on this issue. Legislation like this doesn't get a lot of attention, but there is nothing more important to me than making sure people like Linda have the opportunity to support their families.

Rep. Laura Ruderman, D-45th District