Monday, March 21, 2011

Laughs Abound

Chicago — Loss of Collective Bargaining Stops Trains

When Governor Vel Veta took away the collective bargaining rights of workers in his state, he probably didn’t know the act would stop trains going east of Chicago.

Workers on trains faced muscle strains from lifting the luggage of residents fleeing to the West after several states took away those rights to workers.

Veta simply stated that he thought states could no longer bargain with workers and workers had to take the scraps of whatever was left in the budget.

“They have to contribute to the financial solutions,” Veta said, as he loaded up several suitcases filled with cash from the funds unions set aside to help out two years ago.

Veta suffered a back strain from lifting, but couldn’t reach his healthcare company because his judge voted down the new Healthcare Affordable Act for his state. “We shouldn’t be addressing healthcare when we have to stop spending money first.”

When asked why the state faced the shortage, he answered, “We have to pay so much on healthcare it creates a budget crisis.”

The recent drive to stop the rights of workers to bargain began when he arrived at the negotiations carrying a small card table. “I ain’t gonna share this table with nobody,” he said.

Union leaders had to sit against the wall without chairs in the hall while Veta sat on a platform with his small table. “They don’t have to bargain, we can tell them what to accept,” he said.

Veta’s emergence into the governor ship occurred when the cheese manufacturers in the state backed him and saw a jump in statewide profits. Part of the surge came when they decided workers should contribute to the cheese cutters needed to make the cheese.

“They need to do their job,” he said. “They should contribute to paying for the cost.”

When some workers complained that they were losing their homes because their payments couldn’t meet the rent and mortgage obligations, Veta told the manufacturers to let them have some rind to keep them happy.

“Our financial crisis means we have to support our businesses making the cheese,” he said. “We can’t expect them to pay out to help the state — they’d all leave us high and dry.”

As flocks of people flee from the affected states, they have strained the train systems so that engine parts are breaking down. Those train workers are now being asked by companies to help pay for new rails and wheels so that the train firms can make a profit.

“If the porters strain their backs, they might need some doctors’ help, but we just don’t have the funds because of the crisis,” Veta said.

Workers who sat at the negotiations wanted to have some power at the small table to decide on workplace issues. They said that the governor and management control hiring and salaries, and that collective bargaining was the only weapon the workers had that would give them a fair shake.

“They got jobs, don’t they? They should be happy with that,” Veta said.

- Tom Pope

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