College strike looming - BEYOND frustrated

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    S/O took a huge step in 2005. He walked from his good position (foreman) with a pretty good pay. it was seasonal and he would have about 2 months yearly without work. Even with that, the pay was decent. But benefits were NIL and it was a very physically demanding job. He was more than fit for the job still but he knew well that as age kicked in, he'd flail in his conditioning, as well as the fact he was damaging his body long term with the depth of physical labor he put himself through. It also required 7 days a week in peak season, sometimes 16 hour days.
    He returned to school and succeeded. He nearly got derailed in 2006, 3 months before graduation, by a union strike of the professors. After 21 days, the government ordered them into binding arbitration and the school year was saved for the students. 2 more days missed and they students year was no longer salvageable. They were beyond stressful times. Nearly a month not knowing if he was royally shafted.
    He got a great job that started before he even graduated. Got promotions, raises, like crazy. Feb. 2009, mining industry goes in the tank and has not recovered. Jobless. GRR!
    He applied for an aviation program with government unemployment benefits paying the course, training allowance for living etc. He also signed to apply to the Air Force. He started his program in Sept. He will get signed to the Air Force in early March IF, and ONLY IF, he is successful in his program (he is excelling, top of his class) and can prove he will complete on time. This means the air force taking over funding for his schooling. Tuition, books, tools etc. Plus he would switch off unemployment funding to a full time air force salary, great benefits etc. We've toughed out the last year, a major struggle, lots of changes round here. But was worth it, the goal was in sight.
    Now, January 13 is the union day to vote to strike again. The union and the administrators of the colleges are not even in talks. Not for months have the two sides met. So all it takes is a majority vote by union members to strike. They can walk officially on Mon. Jan 18 of the strike vote is approved on the 13th. There has never been a strike vote that didn't result in a strike mandate in history of the union.
    It is being widely explained that if a strike happens, normally in the knick of time to salvage a school year for the students, the government will order them back to work. However, it is widely known now, that for various reasons (won't bore you with them), this time if a strike happens, the government will NOT be ordering a return to work or the two sides to binding arbitration. it is widely known that if a strike is forthcoming, the students are done. They would all have to return NEXT JANUARY, A YEAR FROM NOW, to return to their studies.
    So, if this happens, S/O will NOT be signed to the air force in spite of 11 months so far of hoops jumped to get him signed. The program sponsoring his tuition and his training funds (basically extension of employment benefits during the time that he is in school) will be cancelled. They will in no way pay benefits for students to wait a year to return to school.
    So, if this happens, this strike takes away all his hard work first semester. it takes away our household income. It takes away his air force offer to sign him into the trade. It takes away everything.
    I'm not wanting to put the horse before the cart, but I'm not naive. And I've read up intensely on the positions of the union, positions of the administration, positions on any government involvement, and movement on both sides (none) towards trying to meet to discuss issues.
    There is a strong defiance in this particular union's history. Nobody here has any elusions, not the students, not the professors.
    So, a week from tomorrow more likely than not, S/O will be officially losing all he's worked for. All our sacrifice will be for nothing. We will have no income. He will have no job offer. Jobs here are NIL, or he wouldn't have gone this route AGAIN to begin with. Relocating without the support to do so via a military posting? Not feasible for a slew of reasons, including legalities regarding my easy child (regarding access to her father).
    I can't cry. i can't laugh it off. If I laugh it off I am insane. If I cry, I won't stop. We did this all already. We took every sacrifice, so did the kids. He worked his tush off at far below poverty levels, to get a degree. He got the good job, worked his tush off. Economy drops. Out on his hard working tush. BACK to school, agreeing to air force and its demands at an advanced age for a person just entering. We agree to the legal war we know will come regarding taking easy child with us on posting to a base wherever they want us. We agree to 2 years of back breaking course work for S/O. We all agree to far below poverty survival over that time and the sacrifices that entails. Because we had our eye on the prize instead of instant gratification. Is it really going to have all been for nothing? Again?

    I swear to goodness, I have not needed anti anxiety medications for so long, years. But I could really use them today. This is so affecting me. I have always had trichotillomania, which I developed in my childhood due to the stress and abuse with my bipolar mother. It was under control. For many years. It has reared its head and it has never been this bad. I am ashamed to have my previously gorgeous, complimented on always, hair seen by anyone. I can't describe the bald spots, the different regrowth levels around my head, the thinness, the fact that no hair cut, style, anything, can hide.

    Here I've been so happy. Even in his layoff, we've been happier than ever in our lives. No stress. We saw an end in sight. If it is being ripped away, I don't know how I could feel more gutted. I am devestated that I'm seeing my anxiety come back after so much work, personal growth, elimination of anxiety disorder. It was a pride of mine to have overcome it all. And now with 40-50% of the hair on my head plucked out in spite of every behavioural therapy tactic I have ever learned being implemented???? I must face that it is back. Worse than it ever was.

    Someone said in a post earlier today: Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I need a fork, a spork, anything. If this all transpires, I'm truly giving up. I swear I'll take to the woods in a tent and turn into one of those anti government, anti corporation, anti greed, activists or something. You know, the crazies that rant with their signs looking like whooly mammoths unkept and scruffy, homeless basically. GRR!!! I wish I was a drinker so a drink could sooth me. :(
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Learned this morning that things are leaning further in favor of a strike.

    Monday will be classes as usual. Tuesday, about 300,000 students including S/O, will walk out of classes across the province in protest of the following day Strike Vote. They will present both the union and the administrators with petitions regarding the lack of negotiations and the fact that students become hostages in a contract negotiation process, at a major expense to them.

    It's going to be a long week next week as we wait to see if the strike vote is a majority (unlikely that for the first time ever, the members won't support the union call to vote yes to a strike).

    There is alot of worry and tension at the campus.

    S/O is in a unique program that has over 50% of its students coming at a incredible expense, from other countries in order to take this program. India, Pakistan, Japan, China, Britain. These students pay tens of thousands in tuition since they are international students. Plus the expense of living abroad. They require visas that cost ALOT to obtain. They would be forced back home for a year if a strike jeopardizes the school year. Then would need to reapply and finance AGAIN the move, the tuition, etc. Even if the school year is just extended to compensate for lost time, their visas expire 2 days after the current school year completion, so might not be able to stay on long enough for a extended year.

    So many people, so many personal issues affected. I'm just livid. Angry.

    I'm moving further from my support of the faculty. i don't favor a strike at all. But I did feel some support for faculty. until I learned that they were given a contract for a 8% salary increase over 4 years, but they want a 7.5% increase over 3 years, so they won't budge to the offer. What??? Half a million students lives in the balance, and they are bickering over THAT????????????? And this is supposedly "in the name of the students" ... "to protect students quality of education". PFFT!!!!

    Yes, there are other issues that DO pertain to quality of education. But that point there? Is the bigger of the stated union concerns. And to me? I can't support a strike over that type of bickering. All the unemployed who are forced back into education at a incredible expense and sacrifice would gladly not strike over a difference of that little. :(
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Similar things are happening here in CA. Tuition rates for state universities have gone up astronomically, financial aid has been cut, classes have been cancelled, and a lot of students have had to drop out. Either they can no longer afford to go to school, or the classes they need to graduate aren't being given during the semester they need to take them.

    I'm sorry your SO is caught in the middle of all that. You're right, it is not fair at all. His hard work should be rewarded, or at least recognized. Keeping fingers crossed he'll be able to finish when he should.