The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Scenes From a Strike– Day 4

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My back appears to be my Achilles Heel, if you’ll pardon the pun.  If I remember anything from my time on the picket line, it will be the aches and cramps, and the spasms I’ve been dealing with for the last two weeks.  They are all born from stress.  I figured out yesterday that I have uncharacteristic cramps and tiredness because of the constant cold.  My muscles are tense from shivering and trying to stay warm; add to that the time spent standing, and I’ve got back issues.  This is to say nothing of the spasms, which I’ve had for quite some time in my adult life.  They are my tell-tale sign of stress, and I’ve dealt with them long enough now to know how to minimize them (and even make them disappear relatively quickly).  The rest of this stuff is all muscular and of little cause for concern long-term.  Some rest, a few chiropractic adjustments and massages, and I’ll be back to normal–or at least have a normal back. Until then, I’ll have to manage as best I can.  These are the consequences of a strike.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning to work out and get a head start on picketing.  Before I went anywhere, though, I checked online and saw that the BOE and Union had reached a tentative agreement.  Picketing was called off for the day, though union members were supposed to meet at the union hall early this afternoon to go over the particulars of the contract and vote to ratify.  There would be a checkpoint, too, where we would have to prove identification.  I went back to bed and slept extra long, which helped ease a lot of my stress, and did my normal workout once I woke up.  Shortly after, I headed to the meeting.

You could feel the collective hopefulness once you entered the union hall.  It cushioned my steps and raised my chin.  Looking around, it appeared that I wasn’t the only one who benefitted greatly from extra sleep.  There were far fewer bags under eyes than I had seen for three days on the picket line, and nobody was burdened by the weight of sweatshirts, hats, gloves, and thick winter coats.  Faces looked healthy and vibrant, whereas just yesterday they were pale and wind-beaten.  We all looked younger, in a way we all seem to when we return from summer vacation.  Surprisingly, the negotiations team looked somewhat rested.  There was no media allowed in the room, but there were photographers circulating.

Two announcements were made right away:  We would stay as long as we needed to take care of business, and the tentative agreement is not a panacea.  We then got right down to the nitty gritty of the new deal.  In short time, I understood how my pay was going to be impacted for at least the next three years (and likely far beyond that since I’m near the top of the pay scale), plus how my insurance coverage was going to change.  I had suspicions about the insurance coverage since that was a major sticking point, but it worked out well enough for me that I have no complaints.

I cast my vote at 3:23pm, knowing full well that it was a pivotal decision that will impact the rest of my life, and one I hope to not have to make again in three more years.

An hour later, the word was out:  The union ratified the agreement.

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Written by seeker70

January 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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