My thoughts on free breakfasts and free turkeys

Years ago I worked in a factory that made fish tanks. Basically, it was a terrible place to work. People were breathing in glass dust, getting injured and working for no benefits, terrible pay in lousy working conditions. There was a recession going on, jobs were scarce and the employer knew it. It was good having a job. They needed us to make their fish tanks. We had bills to pay, it was a job. But, no way were we appreciated. It was kind of like things are today.

Every year my old employer gave each employee a “free” turkey at Thanksgiving.

Some of us talked about forming a union. We wanted to get more people to sign cards for an election. Several of the employees held back, not because the employer was treating them well but because, “the company is not all bad, after all, they give us a free turkey.” Despite the fact that I was supporting a young family, I wanted nothing to do with the damn turkey. I learned how employers can throw crumbs to people and in return some folks will give them their souls.

I feel the same about the so-called staff appreciation breakfast being put on tomorrow for SJSU staff, while at the same time the CSU is looking to raise parking fees 400% or more, pay is stagnated and the faculty are having rolling strikes at CSU campus.

Just as I felt when I worked at the fish take factory, I appreciate the job, but I do not feel appreciated. Then as now, it was a job. Don’t lie to me and tell me we are appreciated. They can put that breakfast the same place I suggested my former employer put their turkey.

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