Thursday, March 8, 2012

The War on Workers Intensifies

As Republican reactionaries wage their battle against the most fundamental of women's rights and Rush Limbaugh flaunts his pathetic ignorance, the war against workers, unions and the most basic of protections such as job security, paid sick time and health benefits continues at every level.

Teachers are the latest public enemy and the drive in New York to evaluate them publicly based on the test scores of their students is gaining momentum. At long last teachers are speaking out and being published in the mainstream media. "Confessions of a 'Bad' Teacher," appeared in the New York Times and "What Value is Added by Publicly Shaming Teachers?" appeared on the Huffington Post.

My own workplace, a large library system in that city by the bay, has joined the trend, shamelessly hammering the relatively few employees who are still working there. Everyone who could retire, has done so and I must add that I am hoping to join them shortly. In the meantime, and it is mean time in every sense of the word, threatening and provocative emails arrive in our inboxes almost weekly, warning us of how we will lose our employment if we conduct any sort of political activity, even on our own time, from work computers.

Oh, did I forget to add that we are in contract negotiations?

The latest threat letter was specifically geared to employees on part-time requisitions (of which I am one) who are seeking extra hours through a substitute-finding database linked to all the Library Branches. I'm not going to bore you to death with direct quotes from this unsavory document but I can sum it up like this: Employees are not permitted to search for extra hours on work time, even during their own breaks. And employees who use any combination of sick leave on their regular work hours when they are scheduled to sub in a given week, will be penalized by not being allowed to use the sub service for time periods ranging from 1 month up to six months.

I am aware that some people, to get more work hours, sometimes schedule themselves for seven days a week of work, followed by another seven. So you can see why someone who is working this way may need to use some sick time to keep going. Oh, did I tell you how much work we have because we are so understaffed? Or how stressed out and crazy members of the public have gotten since the economy went into the toilet.

Well if I didn't, just use your imagination!

(Disclaimer: This entry was written on my own time, at home from my personal computer)