Obsolete People

July 23, 2003

I’ve witnessed this a few times in my life. My Grandfather was a Master Stewart for the Teamsters , occasional grievance moderator and sometimes leader of labor strikes. The one big strike, I remember was one where they brought cheap, younger drivers in to replace the older drivers. The company hired these guys in for minimum wage with the current drivers, union or not, making about double. They striked and the company reversed their decision.

Well, my Mom is going through something similar now. Where the company is picking up fresh-from-college workers and putting them into jobs where the previous experience required was, at least, 10 years. We’re talking things like bookkeeping and budget development for a regional company. This company is currently using systems that date back to the mid-80’s, and the one person who knows it is my Mother. She’s currently feeling the squeeze from the management, with job cuts abound, but they’re not training anyone to come into that system trained.

We’ve seen it for a long time. From Fortran programmers who were let go, because their language was obsolete, to mechanical jobs that were reduced to a highly effective robotic assembly line, to places like my Mom’s where they’re just an amount on a budget. All let go (or the fear of), because of someone feels they can make those “god like” decisions. Not looking at the people as humans with medical problems and bills and families, but looking at them as an expense.

Now my Mother feels a little bitterness toward the company that she helped to save when they went into bankruptcy a few year back. She was the only one, dealing with the bankruptcies’ books and all of this while she had some major medical problems. My Mom had lost but 30% of her hearing and had inner-ear reconstruction and rehab…then she had a tumor in her skull that caused some nerve damage. She was constantly receiving calls to come in. So excuse me if I feel that these ungrateful bastards are well, ungrateful.

I’ve heard a lot about how unions destroyed America, but being in a union only seemed like protection from what a lot of people are going through in this economy. IBM sending jobs to India , not even looking at American programmers, NAFTA, the unfathomable loss of jobs in the tech sector. Not saying unions would have prevented this, but it would have been extra protection.