RE LETTER-writer Donna Cooper's comments about city labor contracts:

Who are you to suggest that we pay co-pays for our medical benefits like common taxpayers? City employees are common taxpayers like the "common taxpayers" you speak of. We have the same city taxes deducted from our paychecks just like any other "common taxpayer."

You say you held a job years ago that paid all medical costs and gave you 12 vacation days. Most city employees won't see that much vacation for years. I just began working for the city, and I only get five days.

The contract negotiations are about not losing everything our union representation has fought for for years!

Before you shoot off at the mouth, understand that the white-collar city union, DC 47, already supplements their medical benefits. To say that the blue-collar union, DC33, should do the same as "common taxpayers" is a slap in the face to the employees who are susceptible to danger in their line of work. It's police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers and prison guards who make up the majority of workers you believe should supplement their medical benefits.

You also suggest cutting back on holidays. Do your research - a third of union employees in District Council 33 are veterans, myself included.

We veterans fought so people like you can have these holidays your company doesn't provide for their employees.

And do a general consensus with your neighbors before you speak for everyone about paying overtime for trash collection on the weekend.

I'm sure they wouldn't agree to letting the trash sit for another day, smelling. But since you said that, know that your mayor already has that in discussion for this next fiscal year!

That said, city employees work hard, and there's no free free about anything we do.

As a "common taxpayer" like you, I, too, would like that free ride you speak of!

Gerald White, Philadelphia