Yesterday, as I was driving through my neighborhood I found myself behind a garbage truck. This was no ordinary garbage truck, however. This particular garbage truck was being driven by what I can only describe as an extremely rude individual. Rather than pull to one side, they stayed in the very center of the road, the entire trip out of my neighborhood. Therefore, I was unable to pass.
As I sat there, quietly uttering cuss words under my breath, I decided to pause and actually be thankful for these guys. First of all, it was freezing cold yesterday. When I say freezing cold, it was below 30 degrees, and this man was hanging onto the side of this truck wearing a sweatshirt. They have one of the dirtiest jobs in the world, and although most are paid a very decent salary, most of us probably don’t want to trade places with them.
In the news recently I read about Marseilles. Their trash collectors have been on strike for weeks now. As I sifted through the images I found online, I couldn’t help but think about how awful that town must smell by now. People are going to become sick. There has been over 800 fires because of the trash! There were pictures of babies being lifted over trash bags in the middle of downtown. The citizens are wearing masks, and people are dumping their trash any place they can. It’s quite disturbing, and downright disgusting.
I’m not sure if I want the rude garbage collector who was driving the truck yesterday to go on strike. In fact, I hope he and his coworkers never go on strike. I would hate to see my town overrun by garbage and foul smells, because a group of individuals didn’t want to lose their “sick days.”
I understand unions account for many of the benefits that so many of us enjoy at our workplaces, but convincing a whole town worth of garbage collectors to stop picking up garbage is pretty darn unsanitary. There are a few occupations that should never go on strike (in my mind, at least).
I would never want our police, our fire department, nor our health professionals to go on strike. I don’t ever want our garbage collectors to ever go on strike. I never want my postal worker to go on strike. I don’t want the employees at my local grocery store, my local Walmart, Target, etc. to go on strike. I don’t want the employees at Panera, or McDonalds, Starbucks, Chili’s, etc. to go on strike. I don’t want our airline personnel to go on strike. I don’t want the clerks at the convenience stores and the gas stations to go on strike. I don’t want the people who are supposed to be fixing my car this weekend to go on strike.
I think I can pretty much sum up my feelings by saying I think “going on strike” is kind of a cop-out. I understand it is some people’s (union’s) negoitiating tactic, but it is a very selfish one. When you go on strike, and somebody who literally “needs” the job you are so willing to give up for your own small salary increase, extra day off, or whatever it is you may be negotiating for, I think you should have no right to call that individual a “scab,” nor threaten them, slash their tires, etc.
People do not appreciate their jobs like they should. Even though we may be bouncing back from our economic hardship as a country right now, there are still plenty of people in this country who are struggling to place food on their tables, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their head. I cannot believe when people stand outside of their place of employment holding picket signs about how and why they’re on strike, that they think that the majority of people actually care.
It is possible that I am in the minority here, but I believe if you go on strike, and your company hires replacement workers that come to work every day, then maybe your place of employment isn’t as bad as you make it out to be. If it is, maybe it’s time for you to find some other line of work, and let your replacements do what they came there for.