Last week’s big story was the resolution of the railroad worker’s contract and possible strike. I’m glad it’s settled but it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t get anything done to include sick leave. People seem to be going ape-shit over that and for some reason, most of the blame is being laid on Biden’s lap. There’s a lot to consider with this issue because there are a lot of angles. I want to dig into some of them to get at what’s really going on.
· The amendment to provide seven days sick leave was voted down in the Senate 52-43. Maybe rather than dump all the blame on the President, how about taking it up with the 43 Republican Senators who voted “no?” Democrats tried to get the sick time and Republicans prevented it. There is no getting around that fact. When a wall falls, you don’t blame the wall builder, you blame the person who kicked it down. If anyone even cares about railroad workers in two years, (and that’s BIG IF, given our culture’s tiny attention span) we should make them wear that vote as a signal of their true intentions. (Which is, “Screw the working class.”)
· The reason they don’t have any sick days is (and I didn’t know this until today) that during past negotiating sessions, their union traded away sick days to obtain higher pay. I don’t know all the inside details on that but to me, it’s dirty pool to horse-trade away a benefit and then threaten to go on strike to get it back.
· Maybe they shouldn’t have asked for seven sick days. Geez, I’ve never had a job in my life that offered that much sick time. I get five days right now and that’s the best I’ve ever had. I wonder if we could have moved a couple of Republican votes if four or five day options were on the table. Five isn’t as good as seven, but it’s a far sight better than zero. It’s certainly something that can (and should) be pursued going forward.
· In that vein, maybe this offer was as good as it was going to get. Biden said, “What was negotiated was so much better than anything they ever had.” Remember that this was a negotiation and as such, neither side gets everything they want. It’s just the sausage-making that goes into getting anything done in DC. I think they got what they could.
· It’s been put forth that Biden should enact the sick days via executive order. And I agree with that… to a point. We don’t know anything about what’s going on in the background. Maybe the deal was made on a promise not to use an EO. Maybe he’s waiting to do it at a more advantageous time. Maybe there are other issues that are not public. Maybe they know that any such order is liable to get overturned in the courts, like they’re trying to do with student loan relief. As with many situations opined upon by self-proclaimed experts, we don’t know what we don’t know. So I’m not ready to throw stones at him just yet.
· One thing we DO know is that if a rail strike came to pass this month, Republicans would fall all over themselves blaming the President and the Democrats. Every empty shelf, every missing part, every missed paycheck, every demonstration that grew out of control, every point lost on The Dow, they’d be on Fox “News” and the like, casting blame. Face it, Republicans are much better at the “blame game” than Democrats, because they have the megaphone, in their own media outlets.
· I hope that reasonable minds will prevail and they’ll be able to work out some kind of deal to provide sick time and an effective way of administering it. (The requirement to provide 30-days’ notice to claim a sick day defeats the purpose of the whole concept.) As we found out with retail workers, we don’t realize how badly we need them until they’re gone. And it’s not like railroad workers have always gotten the fairest shake.
In other news, I saw this exchange online last week:
Game, set, and match to Middle Age Riot. But me? I’d expand a little, because I think we’ve been on a much better track the last two years than the four before. A lot of things are coming along… we’re learning to live with COVID as a threat. We’re showing Russia that they don’t get to steamroll through other countries anymore. The economy is coming back, hell, even the market is rising again.
I know we lost some dough in our 401ks, but you have to realize that it’s all about cycles. And that can be a benefit because during those times when the Market is down, you’re still investing and you’re doing so at a lower price. Then when the Market rebounds, you reap the gains and can come out ahead.
And what does the GOP have to offer? According to their own talking, they aim to cut Social Security and Medicare, try to reverse same-sex marriage, further regulate or eliminate birth control, and oh yeah, enact a national ban on abortion that would overrule state laws that permit it.
When I think of all these action items, I’d actually prefer they stick to endless, meaningless hearings about Hunter Biden’s laptop and impeaching cabinet members. They’ll do less damage that way.
Lastly, while searching for merch online, this autofill appeared:
My question is, “Why are the last two words necessary?” I mean, do walruses shop online? I guess they’re just being thorough…