Hospital and Union “In Dubious Battle”
As more information becomes available, Taos Friction will let readers know more. Apparently, Holy Cross Hospital is starting negotiations with nurses et al. Here’s a flyer making the rounds of the local web. J.Forman suggests some reading for union activists from John Steinbeck below.
WE STAND UNITED!
NO TAKE BACKS!
WHAT THE HOSPITAL WANTS TO TAKE BACK:
EVENING/NIGHT SHIFT DIFFERENTIALS WEEKEND DIFFERENTIALS
TIME AND A HALF (IF YOU ARE 0/C AND CALLED IN TO WORK IT WILL BE FOR STRAIGHT PAY)
MAJOR MEDICAL BENEFITS
CALLING IN SICK (GO FROM 7 ALLOWED PER YEAR TO ONLY 3)
A LONGER CONTRACT (THEY WANT TO GIVE US ONE YEAR AND THEN WE START OVER AGAIN)
NEGOTIATIONS: JANUARY 16, 17, 19, 20
0830-1630 SAGEBRUSH INN
By Joanne Forman
IN DUBIOUS BATTLE by John Steinbeck
Those who read probably know John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” certainly a Great American Novel, and the novel of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
But a warmup, as it were, for this 1939 masterpiece is the 1936 “In Dubious Battle.” If anything, it is even more stark, more gritty than it’s descendant.
Also set in Depression California, it chronicles the story of a desperate strike among farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley. Since the 19th century until the advent of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers, the San Joaquin and other California agricultural areas had been feudal fiefdoms, populated by “ranchers” out of the middle ages, who operated with impunity, and enforced their reign with violence up to and including murder.
The title, courtesy of a quote from John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” refers to the grimness of the struggle, against insuperable odds and the courage that arises. Less dubious, in 1936, was the participant of the Communist Party; like many, Steinbeck had mixed feelings: he deplored the rigidity and opportunism—but also realized that the CP was one of the stalwarts of the period.
It’s a reminder that the food on our plates does not grow in the supermarket, but from the hard labor of those who are still at the bottom in terms of wages, working conditions, and respect. Read it and learn.
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