Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lions and Tigers and Unions! Oh My!

You have, in the optimistic parlance of the day, reinvented yourself as a bus driver. There is great exposure to risk and liability. Stress. And a wondrous assortment of unusual smells. There are no benefits—unless you count the olfactory stimulation.

Applicants must undergo extensive background checks, as you have regular contact with schoolchildren, the elderly and the developmentally-disabled. It would be a public relations disaster to have a sex offender stopping by the local high school or assisted living facility. Or someone with domestic violence complaints collecting residents at the shelter for battered women.

And who wants that? 

Not you.

So yes, it's tough getting in—like a country club.

Not surprisingly, the help wanted sign out front is permanent. But despite the rigorous entry requirements and the risk, the pay is low. Turnover is high. There is a very peculiar dynamic at work here.

If there is such a thing as a living wage, yours would be on life-support. It is a frequent topic of discussion, or more specifically, grousing, among your co-workers.

While the grizzled types with whom you work enjoy the semi-autonomy of being on the road, they wonder why call-takers, nestled inside cozy cubicles with very little exposure to risk or liability aside from the occasional raised voice, make more money.

It doesn't add up.

But neither does your co-worker's refusal to consider the union option—until you realize the majority of them are pick-up-truck-driving, climate-change-denying, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans.

And if unions aren't the first step to a socialist hell, they are mafia-run crooks. Just ask a teacher. Or a cop. Or LeBron James. They'll tell you.

In the eyes of your co-workers, it is better to accept the status quo. Or continue to grouse. Either is preferable to incipient socialism. You wonder if they recognize the similarity between their circumstances and the income disparity ravaging the country.

You doubt it.

The important thing is you/we/they don't unionize. That would be destructive. And socialist. Just ask Rush Limbaugh. Or Fox News. Or the boss. They'll tell you. 

You attempt to impart the idea there is no prison so confining as closed-mindedness. But despite your co-worker's demonstrated ability to receive information on evolving traffic conditions over the company-provided radio, this falls on deaf ears.

Owing to the nature of the position, it appears that for the time being you have little choice but to take this sitting down.

Ten-four.

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