Friday, September 25, 2015

Scary Words We Hope Never to Hear

We live in a world of beauty.

                      Engulfed in that is friendship, love, peace, harmony, possibility, hopes and dreams.

                                                  LET'S FOCUS ON THESE BEAUTIFUL THINGS.

 And with the good there is always rebellion, judgement, prejudice, death, poverty, heartbreak, understand. I won't post pictures for these examples, we've all seen too much of it already.

I can admit, as we all can, to having been subjected at one time in my life to many/all of the above in some form or another yet still manage to kid myself into believing in the good things and hold the 'we can fix this' attitude. Reality is that we can't fix everything.

I mentioned scary words as my post title. The fear of things. The dread. The worry. The denial of things.
We all fear different things. Drowning, fire, tornados, losing a job, losing a loved one, dying. We all dread things like Monday morning, winter, humidity or even the end of the world. We worry about not having enough money, enough food, the cost of vehicle or house repairs, not having a pension,  getting a serious illness and an debilitating accident. Denial is different. It is not wanting to admit to any of the above. We want to turn our heads and hope it goes away, the inability to deal with what is in our face.

So we go on day to day, with these nigglings in our head yet determined to fill any empty spaces with alternatives. We learn to swim, or buy a lifejacket, we don't play with matches, we live in parts of the world with the least storms, we work hard and follow rules, we protect and care for our loved ones and we prepare for dying. This last one is inevitable so we try to make the best of the time we have.

A new scary word that I am being forced to  face these days  is "STRIKE".
That is me in the back...waiting.
I'm not talking bowling here although I do feel like I'm a ten pin at the end of the lane.I don't know how good the bowler is and will I get hit or missed.

Our workplace union group is in the throes of a possible legal walk out and it has many of us up in arms, on the defensive. I feel some days that we are all running on the little hamster wheel tryiing to keep ahead of the rumours. We talk about it until we are blue in the face but there isn't much we can do but wait for the fall out or settlement. We are nearing the end of StageOne of four stages in this labour dispute and I can't help but compare it to the fight that must be involved in surviving a deadly disease. Basically our hands are tied, waiting for the powers that be juggle our future. In a local union of 1600 members there is no way to know each individual case, who voted to walk and who voted to cross lines.

I don't want to be in this line up.
My husband and I have never been supportive of strikes and we have had a few close calls in my 32 years with this employer. More money is not a worthwhile fight for me, never has been. It isn't and has never been about the all mighty buck in my world.

I have heard too many stories of how much you can lose by the end of it all. Even if a 1, 2 or 3% pay raise was the result, no thank you. Sure we'd all like more money at the end of a pay week but at what cost? In the last 25 years we've experienced a wage freeze for a consecutive 10 years with Ray days. We'll never get those back again.

In the past, at contract time, we've lost benefits, cost of living allowances  and all accumulated sick time that was awarded for good attendance. 240 days gone, just like that. Although we have gained some perks over the years, the losses have been greater.

I've still never voted YES on a strike ballot. It doesn't help that both my husband and I work for the same employer so we wouldn't have a spousal income from any other source. Just double up the strike pay.....if there is any and try even harder to make ends meet.

Today, we don't even know what we will be walking for other than the fact that we have been without a contract for over a year and until this week there had been no talk of 'talks'. Need I remind you, for those who are aware, I am 6 months away from retirement. My husband is 10 months away. Although we have found out that our retirement pension group does not penalize worker's time in a legal strike, we do know we would have to buy that time back in order for it to remain 6 & 10 months respectively. This is after receiving a meagre strike pay for however long, trying to manage bills and debts. I totally emphasize with those who have endured the stress and financial devastation before me and am not willing to experience it for myself. After 32 years at this job the last thing I want to be thinking about is a strike.

I'm still a bit on the fence but pretty sure I will cross the 'fence' if our union walks. Yes, that could be rough, uncomfortable and repercussions threatening. We'd have to deal with it if we chose that stance.

We're not sure how it will pan out but naturally anyone we talk to are hopeful that some kind of agreement can be met before it comes to that. It is easy to say we'll cross the picket line and you can tsk tsk all you want to that, to each his own, but if we get locked out completely by the employer, we'll have no choice but to do our duty, walk the line when told to do so and eat weiners and beans for the duration!

                                                                                                        Wish us luck!
Good tidbit to remember.

Thank you for reading. Sometimes a girl just has to vent, ya know?