The Worker's Lament
by Robert Tyner
Robert Tyner is a friend and companion who has recently moved to Indiana from Orange County, California.
My medical group gets bought out by another company: I loose my primary physician who says in good conscience he can't work under the new restrictions imposed by the new company.
My company believes it is in the best interest of their employees to change HMOs: great, but no one seemed to realize in the process we lost much of our vision care benefits.
My apartment rent goes up: well, its a nice place to live and rent has not gone up in a couple years..
The union gets 80% of my fellow employees to sign union cards: management is watching who signs.
The workers are fearful of being fired: California is an At Will Employment state.
Our branch manager promises promotions: lets see, is this the 4th or 5th promise I've heard?
Our branch manager walks off the job and gets a higher position in a competitor's company: no good-byes even.
New branch manager doesn't see need for new promotions or positions: he doesn't even see the need for hot water in the rest rooms.
Union tries to organize our company workers state wide: management seems to be having more meetings these days.
My medical group merges with another medical group and moves their facility: it is farther away.
The rest rooms at work are filthy, no soap, no hand towels, sewage on the floor, unsafe working conditions and broken down equipment: but hey, we have huge colorful anti-union banners, so why complain?
My company has mandatory anti-union meetings at 6:30 am at least two days per week: Well, at least we got paid - the company made the meetings mandatory since no body was coming in early to go to them.
We get some new equipment, which was promised for two years, along with an across the board pay raise: "this has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with the union," says management (all employees then went to look in the mirror to see if the word "stupid" was written on our forehead.
Another company bought the company that merged with my medical group: OK, I'm starting to get confused now.
The union does its best to organize us: management makes threats and many who signed union cards have quit or been fired.
After 4 years we finally get hot water for our rest rooms at work: manager doesn't know why we need it - I guess you don't if you don't get your hands dirty!
Employees trying to figure out how to deface the pretty anti-union banners: there are cameras watching the banners!
In one of our meetings an employee asks other employees to raise their hand if they think anyone cares about them here: no one raises their hand and management gets really offended.
For some reason the company has monthly BBQs: on Friday when some people can't eat meat.
A supervisor puts out a "now hiring sign": this is for the union people we are told. (but this isn't a threat).
The union vote comes and goes: management used scare tactics and won, I believe due to intimidation and lies.
NLRB declares an unfair election for our larger sister branch: the new election is split by 5 questioned votes: union looses to a company that has vowed to close branches if the union gets in again.
Things try to get back to normal at work: it will never be the same since some employees have been labeled "pro union".
For some reason the company quits having monthly BBQs: employees suspect they will resume next year.
Company grows and gets more staff: no pro union people promoted of course.
My medical group gets bought out again and I loose my primary physician, again: déja vue?
Everyone hates the branch manager and has the VP come down for a private meeting with the employees: One month later all the regional managers and VPs get promoted and our branch gets put into another region - where the union is not as strong.
I get referred to see a medical specialist: only see him one time, it seems he is leaving too, because of the new owners.
My chiropractor, from the same medical group, says the doctors have got together and in several clinics will buy the group from the new owners so they can give better care to patients: Hurray - if I can get some more brochures I might have a new party member here!
I get my new health insurance card and find doctor's visits have gone up $5.00: my company says it is to keep monthly contribution costs down.
My rent will go up $60.00 at the end of my lease: new owner (the place isn't looking as good as I thought).
Went to pick up prescriptions today and found they are double the cost: Explanation, "well, it isn't 1999 anymore, it is 2000". I check the mirror to see if I have "stupid" written on my forehead - I do, and proceed to wipe it off.
I call my HMO and find out my prescription costs doubled (because it is 2000): the pharmacy explains that my generic is no longer generic because the company with the brand name is suing the makers of the generic - it will take years of court battle.
I find out my rent will go up in addition to the previously announced increase because of new landscaping: I go to the bathroom and write "sucker" on my forehead.
I resign myself to fight this ungodly and cursed capitalist system with every dying breath I have.
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Robert Tyner, Orange County, CA