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A bit of digging by Tara McKelvey in her otherwise excellent story, “Vending Misery” (11/26), would have revealed that if you work for private industry in D.C. and are killed on the job, as Washington Post newspaper hawker (and mother) Patrese Chambers was last July, your dependent children should receive a total of at least $208.71 a week until they reach age 18.
Therefore, by paying her $3,800 funeral bill, the Washington Post wasn’t performing a true act of kindness as much as it was saying, “Whew, we got off lightly this time!”
Perhaps, to show its loyal concern for its remaining 125 to 150 street newspaper salespeople, the Post should (a) lobby the D.C. Council to include street newspaper dealers under workers’ compensation protection; (b) print an editorial suggesting that all states should enact similar legislation; (c) hire yours truly to call each of the 74 area charitable agencies that the Post reported would receive money from a walkathon this past week (instead of merely reporting the aggregate number of organizations, have me write a couple paragraphs about each organization, with its hours of operation and types of services, who is eligible, and the buses and Metro that serve each location); and, finally, (d) give its news hawkers (and Sunday insert stuffers) the same vacation and pension benefits that all the rest of its workers enjoy, now!