Yesterday was officially the first day Verizon Communication Workers were on strike, but I have Mondays off so I wasn't at my place of employment yesterday. So today was my first day in, and my place of work is situated in between 2 Verizon buildings, one for maintenance vehicles and the employees there and the other I don't know what's in the building but it's a smaller Verizon owned building, and my workplace is down a driveway directly past the bigger building. As I was driving in today, it was my first experience driving through a strike atmosphere, and to say the environment was peaceful would be a very false misrepresentation. The striking workers looked at me and my coworkers with disdain. Now my job is not unionized one bit, the only people in my company who are union are the pilots who fly our planes, so I was not in any way crossing any picket lines, but those striking workers looked at me as if I was. I got into my place of work and was standing around the time clock waiting to punch in with my fellow coworkers and two of them were saying these striking workers became hostile with them while they were driving down the driveway this morning. Did me or my coworkers cross any picket lines or do anything that provoked these workers to cross the line this morning to behavior in an aggressive manner? Absolutely not.
The morning routine continued on normally for us, but then it came time to leave the building to be on our way for the day which began without a problem, however once myself and the caravan of other trucks from my building left with me that's when it became interesting. The picketing workers had increased in number, and it was also time for their replacements to be on their way to do the jobs these workers were not doing. They had the entrance to their workplace human blockade as they protested in a circle to not allow the trucks to leave and then at the intersection of the road, they had workers situated in the right hand turn lane blocking any of their trucks and any of my coworkers from making that right. One of their trucks had managed to get out of the lot and went to make this right and that is when all hell broke lose. The picketing workers were harassing the hell out of the person operating the truck. They were cursing him and calling him a traitor, saying he had a flat tire to try and get him out of the vehicle so they could do what to him I could only imagine. At this point I was in the left hand turn lane, and they were still harassing this man, so I pulled my truck up and was about to make the left but traffic was to heavy to allow for the turn, in the northbound direction so I had to sit there like a lame duck blocking one lane of southbound traffic. However sitting like the lame duck did provide my coworkers with the ability to swing around these picketing workers in the right lane and make the right to go southbound. Finally I was able to make the left and be on my way.
You probably are now wondering why I am sharing this experience today. Well for the past few weeks on my way to work, I have been seeing people picketing at another place of employment, a hospital, stating that they are opposed to unionization of their hospital. It is quite interesting to see the two contrasting opinions making all this noise, because on the one hand you have people fighting for their unionization to remain and for their unions to keep protecting their rights as workers, then on the other side you have group of people fighting hard to prevent this unionization from occurring. Both of these actions are freedoms of speech and don't get me wrong I have no problem with people demonstrating for their rights, but when it comes to harassing people just trying to do their jobs or be on their way to work, that is a whole different ball game in my opinion.
At this point in time with the current state of the American Economy and even the world economy, those of us who are employed should be grateful we even have a job in the first place. I understand it to be a "sin" to cross the picket line but in all honesty with the current situation out there in the job climate, shouldn't these people both union and non-union be grateful they have a job that pays and provides them with benefits in the first place? I mean I do get that the union does not want to have to pay for healthcare, but really be happy you have it at all and have the job that is giving it to you. I know we have a crisis on our hands in so many areas and its a result of what many believe to be "irresponsible actions" by the government, but the one thing I think these striking workers and those protesting against unionization should see is that we have many men and women overseas in harms way fighting for us to have these abilities to have healthcare and jobs, yet these people protesting find it more important to not do their jobs or protest against an ability to protect their jobs because its all about them and not the greater good. I do realize that there are people not paying their dues and that also isn't fair by any stretch of the word fair, however, I do believe it is time to stop thinking about "ME" and think about how the bigger picture.
On this night, as our 30 downed service members returned to our United States lets remember them and the many blessings they have given up to protect us and keep us free, so that tomorrow when we wake up we can go to our jobs and have a place to work to pay us and give us benefits. Let's not cross the line by harassing those trying to just do their jobs, or get to their places of work and instead just let them be and if protesting is going to achieve anything just do it peacefully.