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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Choices

Category: Short Story
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  • I have this image in my head of a workforce on the verge of striking.  There are employees who speak openly of the hardships placed upon them by their employer, and their wish to band together and force the employer to make less profit so that the workers can have more.  There are also employees who can’t stand that talk because they’re just happy to have a job.

    When employees decide that it’s just too much, their first, lonely, and largely ineffective response is to quit.  They give up and go looking for better employment elsewhere - even in another country sometimes.  But when the sentiment builds silently and is brought out into the open in some kind of watershed event, employees may think that their value as a unified group is higher to the employer than their value as individuals, and so they don’t quit, they strike.  What’s the difference?, I ask myself.

    It seems the difference is that striking workers, in an effort to increase the pain felt by the employer, make life more difficult for non-striking workers - the scabs.  As the story alludes to at the end, the scabs need work too, and it is the crappy working conditions offered by the employer that causes jobs to become available for them.  These thoughts make me question whether the idea of a strike is, perhaps, a kind of trap which sucks workers in and compells them to remain unproductive, unpaid, ever hoping that the pain they cause will motivate the employer to accept lower profits.  Success means the scabs go back to something worse, and failure means the original workers do.  Is it worth it?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/14  at  02:36 AM
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