jobs · ramblings · spring · Thoughts and feelings · weather

Spring Vibes & Work Headaches

Oh, the wonders that come from leaving my window open for the whole day today and not being cold! I haven’t felt this warm in a long time. It’s not quite tanktop weather yet though I changed out of my hoodie sweater from yesterday. The process for acclimating my plants to the new temperatures is just that – leaving the window open – however, I’ll probably close it down and only leave a crack during the evenings when a breeze comes in. I did an experiment last fall and left some of my cold-hardy succulents on my windowsill to see if they would survive the winter frost. The leaves died back but in recent weeks, they grew back as the weather warmed up. My sempervivum succulents were the only cold-hardy succulents that didn’t lose their leaves and stayed the same looking all through the winter outside.

I’m trying to hold it together, but at the moment, I’m going through a thing at work where I am not being paid for certain work hours that I believe I should be paid for. It’s complicated. At first, I didn’t feel the need to fight the issue against my supervisor. I’ve had several days to mull over his initial response to the work I was doing and his justification for why it didn’t count as work he could pay me for. The more I thought about his response, the more frustrated I got. Even some of my coworkers (who know about what is going on) said it makes no sense that he was paying me before and now no longer wants to pay me. Now I’ve crafted a formal email to him which I intend to send in a few days contesting my claim for those paid hours and why I deserve them.

The kicker in all this is that among the many employees who work in different programs within this same organization, we’re actually in the process of quietly forming a union and very soon we will go public with it to our managers as well as the organization’s executive board members. We hope to get voluntary recognition from them, and if not, the issue will go to an election and everyone will have to vote for or against the union. I always imagined unions were only formed by employees of organizations where people are overall treated poorly by their superiors. I would say the program I work for has managers who have been fairly supportive, however, there have been a string of recurring issues and flaws in the current system that no manager has been able to alleviate or fix. I could name a few of the issues here. Such as not properly compensating employees for their time (e.g. the situation I am in now with my unpaid hours) in circumstances where the work they do may not be part of their regular job duties but certainly benefits the organization in a way that should warrant an added monetary incentive for the employee who has done the work. An example of this would be providing translations in another language. I had to translate so many times last summer for a different program I didn’t even work for and I was not paid for it.

The whole point of this union is not to tear down the organization but to fight for our rights as workers. We have a list of collective bargaining items we want from the organization. They’re reasonable things to ask for, in my opinion. One of the union meetings I attended was to learn about union busting, which are tactics that our superiors may use to try to persuade us to forgo the union. Some of those tactics may include intimidation with false myths about unionizing but also attempting to “buy” people out of the union by offering them higher work benefits/incentives or even a promotion. My email to my supervisor will go out this week to him. That’ll be before the union becomes public knowledge. I’m almost certain if he responds to me before that, his answer will still be no to giving me paid hours. However, I am wary he may change his tune after everything is out in the open and attempt to union bust by acquiescing to my grievances.

Aside from worrying about that, I’ve had a nice spring break. I could have slept in this morning. Usually I do, but something about the natural sunlight at 7:15 am filtering into my room energized me into waking up fully instead of fading back into the dreamworld. I also switched out from one of my regular workshifts (Thursday). That was the best decision I made recently. I used to have to wake up at 5 AM on Thursdays just to get to work in time at 7:30 AM. Now I work Wednesdays and the commute there is 10x less stressful.

I hope the weather continues to be this good for the rest of the week!

Featured Image by Leyre Labarga on Unsplash.

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