Friday, May 27, 2011

The Things We Do For Work

We're seeing some victories but mostly we're being creamed. Yes, a judge in Wisconsin declared Scott Walkers' attack and railroading through of an anti-worker, anti-union proposal unconstitutional. And folks are pushing back against the Ryan plan to eliminate Medicare. This is helping some Democrats in Republican districts, Kathy Hochul, NY in particular, get elected.

The creamed part has led us to sweeping anti-worker legislation ushered in under the misnomer of "pension reform," forcing public sector employees to pay for the financial meltdown with meager paychecks as financial inequality increases the rich make more money and pay less taxes than ever.

Which brings me to the topic, The Things We Do For Work, which tend to be as desperate and drastic as The Things We Do For Love, but with a more limited paddling against the current in a river just to stay in the same place and not be swept backwards, downstream.

My sister is in a situation where she is vulnerable to being swept downstream in a civil service job related to Social Services in a large Bay Area County that shall remain nameless. She was accepted for promotion to a higher level job and wound up with an anal, newly hired manager, twenty years her junior who is trying to ramp up her hard-ass boss lady title at my sister's expense. She wrote up a three month review for my sister that, although only about one quarter "needs improvement" said at the end is no uncertain terms that she may not pass her probationary period and keep her job.

Now my sister has worked, as a union-protected employee, for over five years in this county. In other words she is "vested." But there is a catch in a new probationary period. You don't necessarily get bounced back to your old job and can conceivably wind up on the street. All for the sin of taking a risk and accepting a promotion. What does this mean if it exposes you to job vulnerability that you didn't have before? It's all very scary and let's just say she is swimming as fast as she can, submitting rebuttals and getting everything in writing.

A friend of hers has another horror story of work probation in another Social Services job at the county level. Hers ends at five months before her probationary period ended. She was just simply informed that she didn't get the job and should just leave, no explanation, nada. She believes it was over a difference of opinion but will never know for sure. She wound up going back to another job that had accepted her previously but she'd turned down. They took her on at $10,000 less salary per year than was offered during her first interview. She took the job at the reduced rate even though it's a couple of hours away and requires her to rent a room during her work week and drive back for weekends. Both huge additional expenses not to mention inconveniences.

So, these are the kind of things we do for work in this so-called economic recovery as the public sector is decimated and all these new jobs that are being created seem to be at McDonald's and Starbucks for eight to ten dollars an hour. Welcome to the New Economy!