Newscoma Has Moved
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
  Digging In For The Long Haul There are certain things I have learned living in a community that has one of its largest employers on strike. First of all, there is an ominous sense of wariness from those striking which only makes sense because they aren't getting paid. Classifieds in rural newspapers have not been impacted by Craigslist thus far, so to see the classified's have started exploding with yard sales and stuff going on sale as quickly as it has is rather shocking to me. Not surprising, but shocking nonetheless. I believe this is only a small percentage of workers, but still even if only ten percent do this, it's still quite a few. Second, the sense of righteousness on both sides of the issue. Some people are adamant about their belief that the union should not have gone on strike. Union members feel they are doing the right thing. There is a sense of tension. Third, people not affected personally of the reasons to go on strike, or that are comfortable in their lifestyles say things like "When your making 35 dollars an hour, you can take a cut in pay." or "Why haven't these people saved any money." Misconception, in my opinion, because the guys I know have saved. I'm sure others haven't but to generalize like this is damaging. I hate the generalizations of this, because it sets up pre-concieved prejudices that are completely unjustified. We are talking about 2400 people here in west Tennessee. Finally, there are no winners. Family members of the striking union members seem to have a quiet desperation and frightened air about them. So we are watching and waiting. I can't honestly tell you how long this is going to last, but I do believe both sides have dug in. We could be looking at months. 
I hate for anyone to lose money much less a job. I've been "downsized" out of a few jobs, too, at critical times of my life.

I DO have to ask this, though. There are people at GY who have been making $30+/hour for years with all the overtime they could stand. Most other factories in West Tennessee struggle to pay $9-$12 an hour with similar or lesser benefits. Lots of factories have already closed. Has it occured to anyone working at GY that maybe . . . just MAYBE things were too good to last? I know the plant has been closing for 15 years now, but things seem to be coming to a head now.

Keep this in mind. Making $30/hour is about $62,400 a year AT 40 HOURS. At 50 hours, $85,800 a year. I dare say that's more than most college educated people make in this area. It's WAY more than most teachers make, and it's more than most any college prof makes (in the area). It's probably more than the technical and administrative people at GY make. Did anyone kinda' see this coming? Surely they did.
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