Takin it to the streets

As I mentioned before I recently became involved with my union. It appears to me that the union fails to generate to power necessary to achieve equitable treatment because it does not spend enough time fighting the political war. Now I’m not sure if there is any preexisting agreement in this regard, so at this point my argument could be conjecture. That being said I will assume from here on out that my assumptions accurate to a degree. A quick search of the New York Times, the Daily News, and (OH dear) the New York Post reveals a stunning lack of coverage of one of our most pressing issues, salary. While I give the union credit, they have come up with a strategy that could be persuasive in achieving change they have not used the media effectively in amplifying their voice.
At issue is a stunning disparity between our titles and our pays when compared to the private sector. The union has proposed a salary review that will be used to increase title wages proportionately rather than a unilateral raise that would be difficult to justify. This is a pragmatic approach that presents the members in a role of achieving just wage. This is bolstered by two things that feed off of one another. The first is a growing awareness of the weakness in the nation’s infrastructure. In New York there is constant construction, however if you look deep into the underlining foundation you will see that most of it is at its youngest 25 years old, in most cases it qualifies for AARP membership. This of course is no reason to panic, but it is a reason to be cautious. The myriad of services that the metropolis relies on have either reached or will reach shortly their golden years. This will require overhauls, replacements, and new installations. These are all jobs that will require city employees with knowledge and experience to at the very least oversee, and at most introduce, design, and plan. However this leads into the second point. There is a problem the attrition in city agencies is staggeringly high. This is of course due to the ability to achieve much higher wages in the private sector. Increasing wages will decrease the rate of attrition, while improving the quality of worker the city can attract at time when the city will most certainly need the best.
While this is a great strategy, I fear it will ultimately fail due to a failure to wage the political war. All government spending is political, this includes salaries. Therefore, the war for equitable salaries must be waged on the proper battlefield; in the media. The NYPD, FDNY, and the UFT all know this and while they have not won all of their battles it is my understanding that comparatively they’ve achieved more success than most. While I have no doubt that are people who have written pieces on the struggles of bridging the economic gap, I fear they have largely been published in the chief, a periodical not without merit but undeniable with limited voice. It is in essence preaching to the choir. In city contract negotiations the union is defendant while the city is prosecutor and judge. If the issue isn’t in the papers everyone reads or in the morning or evening newscast can the debate truly be heard. In order for any success is to be achieved the media and through them the populous must be made the jury. Bringing the debate of salaries out in the open will amplify the message.

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