recent column by J. Patrick Coolican stirred up some interesting debate among Las Vegas Sun readers over who is to blame for America’s economic problems.

The writer says that unions shouldn’t be blamed for the country’s stagnant economy.

We agree on this point. But he also says, “the total defeat of labor unions is nearly complete, with the results for many average workers a nightmare.”

No question, these are challenging times for our members and their families who stand to lose their jobs, benefits, worker rights and pensions.

But IAFF members are standing ground and succeeding in places like Michigan, where fire fighters pushed back against proposals to combine fire and police into single public safety offices (PSOs) and in Oklahoma, where IAFF members fought and won a battle to prevent legislation that would harm binding arbitration and Ohio, where fire fighters and other public employees are collecting signatures to repeal SB 5, the law stripping workers of their collective bargaining rights.

The IAFF is also fighting back hard by taking a stand against national candidates who don’t have our backs.

Let’s not let columnists and political pundits write the epitaph of unions and the labor movement because, contrary to the picture that is still being painted in the press, the IAFF and the union movement are still standing and will continue to fight and have our voices heard come 2012.

You can count on that!