Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day Thoughts on Labor

Money is tight around here. I can definitely see increases in grocery bills (yesterday stood in the grocery aisle, stupidly agonizing over buying a frivolous item my son wanted), and of course at the gas station, where I’ve had to pay above $4/gallon several times already. As a freeway flyer, it’s painful; I can’t drive less, and must fill my tank about every five days.
So I think about which of my teaching jobs are worth keeping. The one that pays best is the one in which the teacher’s union is strongest. Where the unions are weak or don’t exist, teachers, both part- and full-time, are underpaid. Teaching college is a highly skilled job, and we don’t work 40 paid hours per week; we deserve a high hourly.
There are labor marches around SoCal today. Mostly they’re about immigrants’ rights, but I hope people understand the broader need for solidarity among the work force at all levels. Things are going to get worse this summer, hopefully forcing the presidential campaigns to address issues of poverty and stress on the average American worker.

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