Monday, December 5, 2022

On the Right Tracks

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…


Friendly Neighborhood Spiderwoman said...

7 days of sick leave is not an unreasonable request especially given COVID and flu and other random illnesses that can happen.

I just checked my employee benefits and we start out year 1 with 12 sick days and they roll over. I think I have close to 500 hours of sick leave in addition to my annual leave.

I honestly think 7 says was a reasonable request.

What pisses me off is people who ONLY work 180 DAYS annually/per YEAR votes no to take away SEVEN days from them. That is horse shit.

bluzdude said...

Man, I wish I worked for YOUR company. Our 5 days don't even roll over, it's "use'em or lose'em."

But I agree, there should be sick days included in the new contract...7, 5, 3, it's all better than zero.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderwoman said...

Yeah, I just had a coworker go out on disability for progressive vision decline.

She filed for LT disability in January 2022. Was forced to use her annual leave and her sick leave before disability payments could begin.

She literally had 9 MONTHS of sick and annual leave to burn. Her disability payments started in September.

That should be the norm. For everyone. Period.

My husband works for the government. Don't even get me started on government leave.

What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

bluzdude said...

"Should be the norm..." I 100% agree.

Single-payer health care would fix all of that, but the Powers That Be will never let that happen. There's too much money (for them) to lose.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderwoman said...

Government officials with unlimited sick leave voted no to 7 days of sick leave.

That is the most ridiculous thing ever to me. Riles me up.

And I don't think they should have had to trade a higher pay for sick leave.

COL increases could have been the reason for a raise and granting paid sick leave is just being a decent fucking person.

You cannot plan a heart attack or a sprained ankle or a stroke or cancer or pancreatitis.

Makes me so mad!!!!

bluzdude said...

It's inhuman. It just goes to show the degree to which Republicans are bought and paid for by big business.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderwoman said...


Have you ever heard of this website?

The articles are ... just wow.

But the comment section is INSANE!!!!!

This is just one article - they have dozens. It is sad to know that we live and work and shop with these people. Every day. Every where. They are every where.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderwoman said...

Here is another one:

It is interesting to take a peek into the thought process in play here.....

bluzdude said...

I try to avoid sites like this. They tend to give me rage and ruin an otherwise pleasant day. It's beyond me how people actually think this way. Just looking at those two articles... I feel like I need a Silkwood Shower.

Bohemian said...

I think anything Politicians Vote AGAINST, should eliminate it from their own Benefits package too... you know, since they're allegedly so passionate about what they are against for everyone else. I remember having to Save Vacation Days to use for Sick Days in all of my Corporate Lives becoz there was never enough when you have a Family and are not the only one who might take Sick. I don't think I used Paid Vacation for an actual Vacay for Years, having Raised Two Generations of Kiddos, and doing full time Caregiving for an ailing Spouse, even if I stayed Well, I needed to keep those Days for when I had to take Care of them when they were Unwell.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderwoman said...

Bohemian- I totally agree. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I mean Mitch voted against inter-racial marriages but is married to an Asian woman. How is this even possible? The man has no shame. I hate them all. And I HATE what they are all allowed to get away with.

People are being fired from their jobs left and right for posting certain comments on social media. But those clowns can say and do whatever they want to while employed as public servants and NOTHING is ever done.

Complete double standard.