Tuesday, May 08, 2007

When janitors rule

Here we go again. A strike has been called for May 22nd which will shut down the public transportation system up here. Once again, it is the janitorial workers who will cause it. 2000 floor moppers have the power to disrupt a system that transports a million people a day. 2000 floor moppers who currently make $22-$25 an hour. From what I can tell, the union and the city are about 2 % away from agreement on a contract. ( the city is offering 8% over 5 years, the union wants 6% in three years.) It looks like the city is offering more, but since it's over a period of 5 years, the union is balking.

I watched one of these guys mopping the metro station floor yesterday. I've never seen anyone move so slowly. It was difficult for me to suppress my rage. I've got nothing against a fair wage, but ANYONE can do that job, so why is it that they are guaranteed work for life at a constantly increasing wage? And why do they have the power to shut down a very important part of the economic engine up here? I'm sorry, but that's too much power.

The moment I heard the news yesterday, I reserved a car in case they can't avert the strike. Last time they struck, I lost $500 from lost work. This time, it'll just be the $200 for the rental car.

20 comments:

St. Dickeybird said...

FAIR wage being the dominant point. And $25/hr for mopping floors is NOT FAIR.

Lemuel said...

$20-25/hr? Do you have an empty apt? I'm on my way up. It beats my programming job - even in Canadian dollars!

CoffeeDog said...

Oh yes I can understand your rage.

David said...

Sadly, any good idea can and often will be abused. Unions were created to protect, and now they bully, just like the bosses did to the workers ages ago.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Good on you for forward planning what a shame you need to do these things. Have a good day otherwise

Chunks said...

Unions are archaic and serve only to protect lazy people, IMHO. This post only highlights how retarded the whole idea of unions are. Well, unless you belong to that floor mopping union! They should call it the Union of the Snake.

Again, I should drink more coffee before posting. I make no sense.

Rebekah said...

Now Chunks, do you think I'm a lazy person?

Unions are weird things. I'm in a teacher's union; and without it, I'd have no one representing me when contract talks come around. Even so, my pay has never kept up with inflation, so teachers just keep getting further and further behind.

Also, I have legal resources; several years ago at our school, a girl accused a teacher of being "inappropriate" with her. He was put on paid leave, it was investigated, and it turned out she had made the whole thing up because she didn't like him.

Without the union? He would have been fired, his career destroyed.

I'm not saying all unions are great, but they aren't all bad and retarded either.

Sorry torn...I hope the strike doesn't happen.

Jason said...

I feel sorry for the postal workers. Don't they make only $30/hr?

dr. mo said...

I understand that a service interruption is incredibly inconvenient, and with my PhD I'm lucky these days to make $20/hour, so I'm a bit jealous, but I'm with Rebekah: although unions can and sometimes do abuse their power, we would all be living in Charles-Dickens-land without them.

bardelf said...

Maybe I should become a mopper, rather than a moper.

GayProf said...

I agree with Rebekah. Some unions might be dysfunctional, but they are often needed. Texas was a "right to work state," which essentially meant that the state undermined labor organizing. No janitor on my former university campus made more the a meager salary for backbreaking work.

The Labor Movement: The People Who Brought You the Weekend.

Patricia said...

wow i never thought i'd aspire to mop floors but... gimme!

Devo said...

Wow, great points made all around! I think when people say unions protect the lazy they mean that a person who is lazy cannot be let go and will be protected by their union and all that will matter is the seniority. That sucks. Unions are good and bad, but that is totally insane that anyone would be making $25 an hour to mop floors. In Alberta, they pushed it too far a few years back and all the cleaning staff in the health care system got deunionized and they now make a pittance compared to before. They need to watch their haughty little step too or the govt will just legislate them right out of their cushy little lives. MWAHAHAHA!!!!

Scottsdale Girl said...

Here in the A to the Z you only drive your own car. Our public transportation is shameful, and if any part of that organization went on strike? We would not give a shit. HOWEVER! I heard this morning that the "state" is going to cut the funding for the free public transporation for the crippled and elderly to "save money". Niiiiiiiiiice.

Steve said...

Uhh... where do you get the idea that these people are all floor moppers? Many of them are bus mechanics. Do you know how to keep a bus running at peak efficiency every day for 16 years?

dawn said...

That is ridiculous. If I were those workers I'd probably not be seen in public holding a large stick that someone could take and beat me over the head with.

Ed said...

I want ot be a mopper when I grow up. $25 an hour damn! sign me up. LOL.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I'd rather live in a place where unions have too much power, than to live in a country where worker's rights are constantly being eroded.
Does Canada have universal health care?

Anabel said...

This is a tough one. I think eveyone should be making enough money to live comfortably; even unskilled labour.

But shutting down an entire transportation system is nuts.

Good luck.

Willym said...

Devo - won't happen here in Québec, the unions are too strong. Sadly the power of the unions is one of the things that is destroying Québec - and they are one of the reasons we are paying the highest bloody taxes in Canada with the least return.

My father was a strong union man and so was I for the longest time. I was an officer in my small union. Then the CAW and our executive pulled a scam to get us to join the CAW - cost us over a months pay and some real benefits but at least our union bosses got cushy jobs with the CAW. At that point my respect and faith in unions went down the drain.

Sadly they too often now are about the power of the union and not the good of the worker.