Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Glad I Have a Job that lets me Get Sick - Thoughts on Postal Convalescense
By Mel Carriere
I am certainly not advocating for anyone to milk or abuse the system. We don't want to be the ones to kill the Postal goose that laid these golden eggs - the politicians are doing a good enough job trying to carry out that loathsome task. But don't you think it is good and right and nice to have the peace of mind of knowing that when we are legitimately sick we have the liberty to take a few days off to heal up without worrying if we are going to be out in the street looking for a new job when we get better?
This is a right that was fought long and hard for by thousands of gutsy men and women who paved the way for us and are unfortunately fading from memory. There were those decades ago who were willing to put their jobs in jeopardy and even risk their lives to the clubs of strikebreaking thugs. If any one of you think that these rights we all enjoy, such as the right to convalesce after an illness or injury, could have been gained without the strength of collective bargaining, meaning Unions, then I nominate you for dupe of the day and I will gladly replace the picture of my own sorry, swollen, sad sack face up there with a picture of your own.
While most of you were out there today slogging through the rain and the snow, I was sitting at home licking my wounds, trying to get by on a miserable diet of Jello and applesauce. Yesterday I went through oral surgery to have a late blooming wisdom tooth removed that was possibly infected and causing me a lot of pain. Since this is the era of the selfie, I felt it my sacred duty as a reporter of all things postal to snap a photo of myself through my anesthesia induced grogginess as I waited in the van for my wife to go to the pharmacy for my pain killers. I was rather proud of my ability to maintain the presence of mind to switch the phone camera to selfie mode and then post a few words on Facebook through the blurriness before I passed out again.
Allow my selfie to serve as the rallying banner for why we need Unions. It won't be the prettiest flag by any stretch, but it will get the point across. There is a trend today to denounce Unions in general, and public employee unions in particular, as the cause of everything that ills the American economy. But if anyone thinks the working class rose from the tenement slums of the turn of the century to the decent, happy, prosperous middle class standard of living we enjoy today because of the innate goodness of the hearts of billionaires then once again email your own drugged, hypnotized selfie to email@example.com and I will post it on my bulletin board of the duped and the deluded.
And yet an apparent majority of Americans who have been hypnotized by glamour and gadgets (like my selfie-taking cell phone), have willingly and gladly allowed the chest-thumping, corporation bought and paid for, shamelessly obese, cigar-smoking, viagra-taking bags of wind like Rush Limbaugh to smoothly convince them that all Unions are evil, and public employee unions are especially evil. Greedy unions are blamed for driving up the prices on essential goods and services. Meanwhile, Corporate America and the public at large forgets that if not for unions everyone would be taking home slave wages and there would be no disposable income to pay for any goods and services outside of life's barest necessities.
Furthermore, the public employee unions that are the perceived source of budget deficits and bankrupt municipalities are really the only functioning unions out there anymore, and therefore the only force raising the income bar. I agree that some public employee Unions could have been more prudent during the economic boom days, at least as far as pensions are concerned, but a rising middle class economic tide created by Unions ultimately lifts all boats, including those of the wealthy manufacturers and retailers who stand to gain by people having more money in their pockets.
So until I'm well enough to get back on my feet again I'll do my small part by taking shots at the big wigs who would reduce us to sweatshops and wage slavery again. I thank God for my Union that has won me the right to take a couple days off when needed, but those of us who enjoy these rights shouldn't bask in the comfort of our own benefits. We should be out there on every street corner fighting for the rights of those who don't, carrying signs at Wal-Mart employee rallies and reminding rich people everywhere that the workforce is the raw material most responsible for their wealth - and we should be compensated accordingly.