Editor, Times-Union:

As stated in the first letter, no part of the SSI number is to be used as an I.D. with the following exception and that is if the owner gives their permission. They have told how it will be used, they have to have assurance that it will not appear where it can be seen by the public and only have very, very limited access by those who maintain the I.D. file. In no way can these SSI numbers found left open to the public viewing or left out in the open for public inspection.

It is the responsibility of supervision to make sure these practices are always followed. As an arbitrator told us, treat them as if they were gold and it was in your care at all times. They are someone's I.D. and there's always someone who wants to steal them and use them for fraudulent use. There was another thing that was told, if an employee is caught abusing the files, the supervisor can be held liable, whether they can or not I don't know, I do know I sure don't want to find out. There is one other thing that must be understood, this database does not belong to the county! It belongs to the persons whose SSI numbers reside in it, the county can be held totally responsible if it is not safely guarded just as corporations or businesses can be held responsible.

 A note here it took over 10-12 years and a whole lot of grievance, meeting a lot of money and a few good men who put their names on paper, because they took an oath to protect and defend the constitution and the laws of this country. Everything you read here was and appears in not one but several grievance meetings. I do hope for those who read it that if these individuals had not stood up.

The corporation and many others in this country held the idea that they and they alone could sell or make available these (in our case 70,000 employees, and somewhere between 70-80 million customers SSI numbers) could be made available to anyone who wanted them. Mexico, China, Russia, and South America, or whoever. all without anyone being able to prevent them from doing so!

How do I know this? I was the Primary Union steward. I attended hundreds and hundreds of grievance meetings, second level meetings and every arbitration case. In every grievance meeting the above was told over and over. Why? Because Congressional members who belonged to the Council–on–Foreign Relations passed a rule in 1978 that said they could. Remember when ever you had to cash a check you had to show your SSI number?

Marvin Gunter

Warsaw, via email