Striking While Others Are Looking For Work – What’s Your Opinion?
New York City residents are breathing a little easier this morning. They will not have to open their own doors, carry their own luggage, and sign for their own packages or let food delivery people into the building. Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 300,000 doormen, porters, janitors and building superintendents, reached an agreement on a new labor contract with owners of more than 3,200 apartment buildings. According to the New York Times, the four-year contract includes a total pay increase of nearly 10% and no significant cuts in benefits for the workers, which had been a sticking point for the union. The deal averted a strike that was set to kick off at 7 a.m. today – April 21, 2010.
My question is simple – if you’re a jobseeker who has been sending out hundreds of resumes, waiting for one single response; an interview; a callback; a new job – are you just a little mad that thousands of individuals were ready to walk off of their jobs because they felt they didn’t have enough, at a time when the economy is bad and most people would be happy with a fraction of what they already have? That’s kind of a loaded question, but if this had happened last summer, as I wondered how long it would take before I would land another full-time job with a salary and health benefits, I might have jumped at my television screen and said, “Fire them! I’ll do their job right now.”
But times have changed. I am working on this blog from the office of my new full-time employer, thinking in the back of my mind that I must complete my health benefits enrollment forms before the end of the week, and no longer sure if I can be mad at workers who want a little more from their jobs. Isn’t that the way it always is? When we get something we want, we then want even more. Isn’t that why Tiger Woods’ marriage is on life support? Isn’t that why no matter how much money Goldman Sachs makes, they are being investigated for the way they have made even more profits? But is anyone mad at them? Tiger Woods got cheered at his last golf outing. And no matter what horrible things people are saying about Goldman Sachs, the banking giant still ranks #1 amongst its peers.
So, what do you think? In this bad economy, with so many people out of work, wishing they could be in the shoes of those who are still employed, is it OK to flaunt your desire for even more wealth through the action of a strike? Was it really wrong for building owners to ask that these workers share some of the burden of health care costs? You make the call.