Monday, December 15, 2008

Work, Unions, Work, Sleep Needed Please

Apparently, I continue to have a problem posting to this blog in a timely manner. I think the problem can be pinpointed to the fact that I am working more than my body likes, leaving me a bit wasted for posting projects. Currently, I teach two college classes with heavy writing requirements (translates into heavy grading requirements), work a day job as an administrative assistant, and I am working on writing a book on the history of the Magdalene Convents and laundries and how they developed. Of course there are also family and personal obligations, and my new love . . . Karate. Often, I am beat. I work seven days a week and I am left with little time to breath.

This is why politicians like Mitt Romney leave me livid. On Meet the Press last weekend (Sunday) Mitt Romney suggested that the problem with the auto industry is not poor planning, or poor management, or even a poor economy where no one can buy a car, but unions. Workers making too much money, being promised too much for pensions and health insurance.

Workers are not promised enough.

As a part time teacher, I can honestly say that I am not paid what I am worth. Nor, and this is frightening to me, am I guaranteed a job beyond each “course contract” I get. The reason I cannot quit my day job answering phones, is that my teaching gigs all state that a contract to teach a certain job is not a guarantee of employment for the next quarter. Therefore, my livelihood is class by class. And worse, the MLA just reported that this trend is getting more pervasive, creating an unbalanced workforce of part-time and lecture teachers (as compared to full-time and/or tenure-track professors) who are not guaranteed work, or benefits or even a decent bloody paycheck. And people wonder why the good teachers leave K-12 and the University for the private sector? Many of us are paid poorly, offered no job security, but are expected to do everything under the sun from work overtime, offer university/college service, and do independent research to boost the institution’s reputation.

Other industries experience some of the same problems and continue to ask their workers to work for less, put up with more, and all on four hours of sleep--with a smile on our faces.

Now I am not staying that the unions are squeaky clean organizations, but that does not mean that they do not or have not performed a vital service to the labor force. Frankly, we need more union organizing not less (sorry Walmart), and we need it yesterday.


PS, you might noticed that my sidebar now includes updates from my twitter posts. Feel free to follow for more up to date posts.


  1. America has the highest rate of productivity in the world, and the Business Class crows everytime it goes up. While the protestant work ethic has something to do with that, I personally also think it's so high because we're all scared of losing our jobs, or losing our raises, or losing something. Those who "give" us our jobs know this and exploit it to the maximum. Labor Unions allow us to band together, giving us strength and courage, and so of course those who run business want to see them disappear.
    I think, though, that there is a point when fear stops and anger starts, and the Republican Party is moving dangerously close to that point. Should the economy get really bad, and jobs continue to disappear, the GOP will suffer badly.

    And it couldnt happen to a nicer bunch of folks.

  2. You know what gets me, for every company I have had to work for in the last 10 years, I am always asked to sign some type of loyalty oath and/or some other type of discloser. But has a company ever had to offer me loyalty in return? No. Right to work states, the right to fire someone for whatever reason these companies want, continue this tradition of one way loyalty, leaving the workers in perpetual fear of job loss. And yes, you are right when you say that corporate America fosters this fear. I hope you are right, I hope those behind one way loyalty philosophy suffers, or wakes up and smells the reality. If I have no job, no money, and no credit, i cannot buy their crap!


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