Recent commentary in the city has noted the ancient methods used by some unions today as more hurtful than helpful. What is that method — the strike.
We can all recall the SEPTA strike scare earlier this month, which fortunately didn’t happen. Then there are the airline strikes. All inconveniences, but sometimes, they are serious. Did SEPTA drivers really need everything they asked for? Probably not, it seems Philadelphians cried out in unison: “all they do is sit!”
Well that may be true, but unions also have a long history of accomplishing positive things not only for the workers, but also for society in general.
It seems odd then that unions are finding such difficulties in solving problems nowadays. Sure their power has been waning overall, but right here at Temple the fight for unions is just as strong as the fight against them.
In a society like ours, a group of individuals need to be able to rise against the tide of the ever-increasing corporate American scene. The “mom and pop” style of business continues to dwindle and with it so does the respect for the lower people on the totem pole.
The union is a positive entity when it comes to protecting the rights of the underlings who make a fraction of the money the head honcho makes (when they do a larger portion of the grunt work.) If unions don’t want to continue to lose power, they need to find newer methods of protests, because as the 40-day SEPTA strike proved, it hurts to have the company and the population against you.
Unions at Temple (there are over 30) are in the same boat. They are fighting against the insanely large beaurcracy that is Temple University. Unfortunately some of them have problems. For instance, one of is just starting up and the other is forbidden to strike (it’s in the contract).
The Temple News has nearly beat the Temple University Graduate Student’s Association’s attempt at unionizing to death, but its finally safe to say in this section of the paper that unionizing graduate students isn’t a bad thing. This type of union is a growing trend across the nation, but so is the opposition by universities.
Did you know that it was estimated last year that to live comfortably, that is have a living arrangement of some kind money for the necessary bills, etc., the average Philadelphian needed to make $14,000? For most graduate students, that price tag is above what they get paid to do the work of professors.
Graduate students don’t deserve equal pay but fairer compensation would have answered the problem (before it had gotten this far).
Some of Temple’s police force recently felt Temple’s wrath when their contract expired and neither side could agree on key points. They continued working though, with only the prospect of informational picketing, because the contracts they had been working under forbade them from striking.
More of Temple’s unions have contract expirations this year and, yes, maybe they won’t be that important or problem riddled, but surely some will have kinks. In the end they may prevail, or they may fail.
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