Saturday, September 08, 2018

I've been working out

It's been a couple of months now that I've been doing yoga every morning except Saturdays (when I go to the Y for an 8:15 class). Here we see results (photo taken during Site Training Day at work)

Friday, September 07, 2018


A bumper crop of Hawthorne, on the walk to my bus. — in Seattle, Washington.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Labor Day Pay Freeze Impact

On this beautiful Labor Day weekend, let me draw your attention to Trump's announcement canceling cost-of-living adjustments for federal workers on the basis of financial emergency.

This affects you and people you care about in several ways.

1. The office I work in is understaffed because the federal government does not offer competitive wages. Every work day I help 20-30 people and one of their most common complaints is that they had to wait on hold for too long. I totally agree. If we were fully staffed their wait would be shorter and my office would serve a lot more people each day.

However, inflation is restarting thanks in part to Trump's trade war imposing import taxes [tariffs]. Inflation means my real wages are falling. Personally, I may have to move to the private sector where they pay market rate. That's 20-30 people every day who would not get the service they deserve. Officewide, I don't see how we will be able to be fully staffed since there are plenty of better paying jobs out there.

The immediate impact on each individual that I serve is only that they wait on the phone longer or not get their call answered, which may be a sacrifice you're willing to make. But, in dollars-and-cents terms, it's irrational to be understaffed because my office generates income by settling debts and making payment arrangements. In the private sector, this would be called a "profit center" and what happens to private sector organizations that starve their profit centers?

2. Consider the other federal workers whose jobs affect you more intimately - like at our local VA Hospital, which is short hundreds of staffers. I'm not exaggerating: hundreds short locally and nationwide thousands short, and mostly because they can't offer competitive wages.
Why would you take a nursing job or a janitorial job where you are paid less? There are lots of hospitals around here paying more, so how can the VA Hospital fill their slots?
If you think a janitor at a hospital should not be paid well, you have never mopped up body fluids, or been a patient around a body fluid spill. You really want to be a patient where that stuff stays on the floor one minute longer than necessary?
Tell me: do you think eliminating the cost-of-living adjustment will help with that?

3. Think about the mechanism Trump used.

He created an emergency with his trillion-dollar tax cut and then declared that because of an emergency he can do what he wants.

You may love Trump.

You may feel that I am paid too much and that anyone supporting a family should stop working in the federal government.

You may decide that cutting the level of service at the VA hospital is the way to MAGA, right?

But do you really want a government that creates an emergency, then uses that emergency to do whatever it wants?

Is that really a good idea to you?

Is that really America?

Enjoy Labor Day.  I'm union and we brought that to you