Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Up To Here!

I wrote this on Oct 31 as a knee-jerk reaction to what I saw happening in my union. In the time since, I've put myself in a position to change the practices of the union and more positively effect the junior members. So, I'll be staying around awhile, to answer the question at the end. Rather than quit, I'm going to stay and fight. And put in a prescription for blood-pressure meds, while I'm at it...


The Final Straw?

I'm finding myself in that rare and untenable position that not many people know. Do I stand for principle and potentially starve, or do I swallow my pride, morals, judgement and self-respect and collect a paycheck every month.

I've written before about my union. I won't specify which union, the c**********, but it is a California state public employee union. I tend to differ in every political way from the union, but I have to be a member as a requirement for my job, or I can be excluded from bargaining yet still give them a contribution. Either way, they take a percentage of my pay every month for their operating allowance.

Recently, the governor that the union so despises passed a proposed budget that would impact the state employees in my field. You may be wondering - why didn't I hear attack ads about how the governor is condemning our workers to the poorhouse? Well, its because he did something that the previous gov's haven't done, and that is give us a raise.

Specifically, its not a "raise" but a cost of living increase. It weighs in at a meager 3%, while the cost of living is skyrocketing, but hey, I'll take it.

Except they didn't give it to me. They gave it to her and her and him and her, but not to me. Why? Because they bent me over and shoved their big, hairy "collective bargaining" up my ass.

Excuse the language, but you have no idea how fucking pissed I am right now. I just got off the phone with my designated union rapist, and I am very displeased. It turns out...I don't get the raise because I haven't been here long enough. How long is long enough, Josh, you're asking? Well, apparently long enough to learn to enjoy the feeling of that goddamned collective bargaining. Enough to progress up a half-dozen salary steps, at least, which usually means at least 3 years, maybe 6 years. Those are the people that realized the raise. The newbies, like me, what do we get from the union that should be negotiating for us? BOHICA, to borrow an acronym from Dick Marcinko's books...Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

They took the money that should have gone into my pocket, as little as it would have been, and "redistributed" it for the fuckers who have been here longer than me. But wait - THERE'S MORE! Not only did they "equalize" the upper salary steps, making the raises that come between each bigger, they gave them all the cost of living allowance!!

I cooked your food
I cleaned your house
And this is how you pay me back
For all my kind, unselfish loving deeds?!!
Hah. . .
That's about how I feel right now, even with the obscure reference.

So, to recap. The socialist bastards took money earmarked for me, redistributed it for the more senior employees, then gave the same senior employees the money that was earmarked for them on top of the money I should have gotten. So they get a handy little 2 raises, and I get the shaft. Literally.

Which brings me to my dilemma. Why should I work for an institution that cares so little for their employees that they are literally making it painful to work here?

The senior staff, by and large, own their homes and cars, make fewer payments and get larger paychecks. They may also have families to support, but for the most part, they are empty-nesters. The younger staff, the ones who haven't been here long enough to get the raise, are generally in school or paying student loans, renting housing at exceptionally steep prices, leasing or otherwise paying for transport (because we have next to no public transport), starting families and working longer hours for less pay than the senior staff. Yeah, they paid their dues, but they bought homes when they cost $80K, not the $500K I have to look forward to when I get out of my current place.

So, should I stand on principle and say "Screw you guys...I'm going home," walk out and find something else or not work for a couple months, or do I bow my head like a good little sheep, accept the benevolence of the master that didn't choose to eat me today, and mosey along in this unfulfilling and convoluted job market with little hope of solace and redemption for the next several years it will take me to complete my education.

I'm just thankful I don't have a wife or kids to influence this decision. This may be the one time I can actually give the finger to The Man and not have others suffer because of it.

Must think this through.