Hiding in the Corner

Sometimes I hate political things. Hate them.

And I really try not to discuss them much on the blog. They are too polarizing and people are emotionally attached to their ideals and people get mad and defensive.

But I’m currently smack dab in the middle of a situation and it’s all I can think about.

It’s distracting me from work. I can’t focus. I avoid conversations with certain people in fear that they will bring it up. I’m tired of being judged for just doing what I’m here to do. I’m tired of feeling pressured. I’m tired of not being able to get unbiased facts from either side. I’ve spent nights in tears talking to Mr. A about this. My close friends and I have spent countless hours discussing every freaking aspect, and for the most part agreeing, but there are areas of contention.

All of the uni@ns at my school have authorized a striek. (I’m spelling things this way in hopes that a Google search doesn’t bring this up. I will also refer to the graduate assistants as TAs to also not bring up my school’s uni@n stuff.)

Now, I am not necessarily pro or anti uni@n. I live in a state where you can be in one or you don’t have to be. This whole thing never came into my little world until recently since both of my parents work in jobs where they don’t even come up. I don’t even have a clue where my parents stand on uni@ns since it simply didn’t come into the realm of my life. Mr. A feels one way, but I am more in the middle. Do as you wish. Whatever. Is this a good stance? Don’t know, but it’s how I feel. I have other soap boxes to stand on.

So here I am, finally in grad school and getting to teach and learn from amazing professors, and I’m getting thrown into a uni@n battle.

The TAs have one, as do 3 other groups. They are arguing about contracts and benefits, as most of these arguments are about. I agree that the fakulty have some very good and valid reasons for being mad. I agree with their arguments. But guess what? I’m not fakulty. I don’t deserve the same benefits as them. I do not really agree with the TA argument. A couple issues I agree with, but not even the majority of their complaints.

Also? I read, understood, agreed, and SIGNED a contract. I knew ahead of time what I was getting and what I wasn’t. I’m pretty freaking happy with what I’m given. They pay for school and I get a pretty decent paycheck. Am I rolling in the dough? Not at all, but I’m also not starving. We’re fine.

But if people are mad and want to bargain, fine by me. Do as you wish.

But now they have voted to authorize a striek. They haven’t called one yet, but the uni@ns have voted that they will.

And it’s causing all kinds of uproar. People are passionate one way or the other, for the most part.

I went to the info meeting last week, and well, if nothing else, they persuaded me NOT to join. They were incredibly combative and confrontational and aggressive, and just overall rude. This is not me being anti uni@n. This is me being anti THIS uni@n. Again, the fakulty have some real complaints that needs to be addressed and I fully support them. But that’s not me.

Also, I can’t afford to not get paid. And I don’t want to pay the dues each month because while we aren’t starving, I would like to use that $20/month to go out to eat with my husband or get a manicure or buy a new shirt. That may seem dumb to some, but it’s how I feel. If I felt that I was being mistreated and abused, then yes, I would put the money towards the uni@n. But I don’t, so I’m not.

So now I’m in this weird place. Many of my colleagues are planning on strieking. I’m not. Will I cover their classes? Nope. Not in my contract and I’m not, contractually, allowed to work more than I currently am. I won’t become a replacement. But I WILL continue to do the job i was hired to do and I will enjoy every minute of it. I like teaching. It’s why I’m here.

Do I want to cross the line? Not really. But since I’m not in the uni@n, I don’t have a choice since they CAN fire me for not showing up to work. My friend and I are going to dress down in sweats and baseball hats in hopes that we look like students and walk together to our classrooms. We don’t want to seem unsympathetic, but we also need to get a paycheck and want to teach our classes. I’m hoping to find some back door to sneak into or getting there crazy early in the morning to avoid getting screamed at, but who knows. They haven’t called for one yet, but from the e-mails I keep getting on both sides, neither side looks willing to back down. I’m concerned that it could get violent simply from the rhetoric that has been used, but until then, I’m planning on carrying on with business as usual as much as possible.

Maybe this is an unpopular stance. I don’t know. But this is what I feel deep inside that I am supposed to do.

This isn’t some flippant view or position I have taken. I have tried to gather as much information as possible. I’ve tried to talk to people and get all sides, but nothing is simply factual. Everyone has an agenda. So I had to look within myself. This is the decision I have come to.

I hope and pray on a daily basis that they come to some sort of agreement before it comes to a striek, but I’m not all that optimistic about that.

They can call one as early as Thursday. And who knows how long it could last. The head of the school seems pretty determined not to back down and, from everything I’ve read, they will not be pushed into a decision.

And neither will I. I cannot allow bullies on either side to push me. It may seem like I’m taking a side, but only because I want to keep my job. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t join the uni@n but stay home if they do call for one. But I’m not allowed that option, so this is what I have to do for my family, however small it may be.

So I guess I’m asking for all of you to pray, hope, send good thoughts that it doesn’t come to a striek. It will get nasty if it does, and we all know I’m fairly emotional. I will do what I need to, but doesn’t mean that I won’t be an emotional wreck while doing it.

And everyone thought this blog would only be about silly students and my precious cat. Boy were you wrong.

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6 Comments

Filed under Grad School?, Life After College, Teaching in College, WTF

6 responses to “Hiding in the Corner

  1. Sonya

    Praying for you! I hope there is a quick solution!

  2. Wow, that’s a crazy situation to find yourself in! I’m not sure which side I would support were I faced with it, but I will definitely pray for an amicable solution. I’m pretty sure your students won’t like it if some of their teachers just don’t show up to class- they are paying to be there after all!

  3. I agree with you on the uni@n thing–I don’t think there is a wrong or right side to that issue. However, I think you are 100% definitely doing the right thing with your decision to keep teaching. It’s not fair for the students to suffer from this kind of dispute. Sending you lots and lots of happy thoughts and prayers that things get cleaned up quickly and it doesn’t come to a striek. 🙂

  4. good for you for doing what you believe. hoping it simmers down quickly and easily and for strength for you if it doesn’t.

  5. I’m saying some prayers for you. That sounds like NO fun to be stuck in the middle of. Thinking of you!

  6. Pingback: Game Plan « New Teacher. {finally} New Wife.

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