Year after year of just working, paying bills, and doing the same old shit day-to-day has a way of taking the life out of things like Spring Break. A year ago this simple week was just another week, but after a year of school a quiet week is a fucking God-send. I got a case of the mid-winter fuck-its, and gave my bong more attention than my homework, but I kept my name on the President’s List.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has decided to run for president, and it’s been a nonstop riot for those of us who thoroughly enjoy watching out-of-touch sociopathic politicians make asses out of themselves. Unfortunately, and much closer to home, my store director is a Cruz level leader, so my store has gone to shit: He tried to get Peet’s to open and serve despite all the equipment and cups being covered in dust from construction work (he changed his mind after someone mentioned OSHA). Two people went to the hospital for formaldehyde poisoning under his leadership, and all our hours reduced to the minimum allowed. I have to have full-time availability to be guaranteed 20 hours of work per week–and that’s all I get.
I’m a paying union member, and you’d think $40 a month in dues would make for a better workplace. But not when power and money have compromised the union president. You might be thinking, that’s a lofty allegation. But when the guy who’s in charge of everything “lays off” his best (and most outspoken) union representatives because of a supposed “bloated” union–three weeks before Christmas. Then replaces them a few weeks later with low-wage lackeys who can in no way help us with work related problems, but can collect our money to fund more bullshit political favors. All the while trying to shove contracts of “non-disclosure” with several weeks pay down the ex-union reps throat’s. And this is all after he’d lost years worth of bargaining by stripping our contracts of things like time-and-a-half pay on holidays (which is the only thing that makes them worth working). What would you think?
In light of all these complications, a new organization is taking root of which I have the good fortune to take part, and help with communications. We are Retail Workers for a Democratic Union. We have come together out of the growing need for balance against leadership which no longer shares its members’ core interests. Keep your fingers crossed for me. If this campaign is a success, it means a lot of good changes are coming for grocery workers in SW Washington and Oregon. And, I won’t lie, it’s going to look pretty good on my résumé too.
As always, thank you all so much for reading. Thank you for your feedback. Please, if you’re interested in what’s happening in Oregon’s local labor movement, check out our new blog. And have a great Spring Break.