Wednesday :: Apr 6, 2005

What Would Woody Write?


by pessimist

In the comment threat of my previous post, one person made the comment 'how Guthrie." Sure, Guthrie wrote songs about the socio-political issues of his time. That, my blase friend, is something missing from our culture today.

This is going to be an interesting day in my life. The labor unions who staff my employer's domain are going to be voting on a contract which will provide the company with the means to take away 25% of our wages. Our medical benefits are also at risk, so there really is much at stake here.

The company proposal, which is at the 'last, best and final' stage, provides for the reduction of the work week from 40 to 30 hours (ironic since France just increased their work week!), and the benefit qualification is raised to 30 hours averaged across 6 months' attendance. This means, in simpler English, that one has to work 30 hours every week across six months or lose benefit coverage. This would normally not be an issue with a 40 hour work schedule, but cut it to 30 and it becomes almost likely.

This is no idle threat on the company's part, as several other labor contracts have been so implemented by my employer. Some employees have already had their schedules cut even shorter than 30 hours under the provisions of their contracts and have already lost their medical coverage.

My good Orange County (CA) Republican-voting coworkers are now going to be learning some of the things that Woody Guthrie wrote songs about: being caught between unfeeling, greedy employers and their deprived families.

I'm going to save our wrong-wing friends the trouble and raise the point "If you don't like it there, then go get another job." for them. That's what most of my coworkers tell me when I ask them what they plan on doing about this contract dilemma. Some say, "One job isn't going to make ends meet anymore, so I'm looking for another job." Almost every one is a family man with a mortgage and a very long commute (50 miles one way is typical) in a time of $2.50/gal. gas, and this cutback makes it difficult to provide for their families as they have in the past.

Maybe we should have muckdog come lecture us all with his job statistics and teach us just how good things really are out there in Statisticland!

All of us will now be forced to make cutbacks in our lifestyles. The only question will be how deeply the cuts will end up being.

It's enough to give a Red State man the blues - and has. I refrain from telling them that I tried to warn them.

pessimist :: 3:06 AM :: Comments (20) :: Digg It!