Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On strike!

I think that everyone deserves the right to stand up for themselves and protest what they disagree with. I mean if you don't like the way a business treats you, you can vote with your feet and take your dollars elsewhere. If you don't like your salary you can find a new job or ask for a raise. Sometimes you can even go on strike. I don't really like strikes. I find them a bit excessive and costly in the long run. Life is full of the choices we make and we need to life with the consequences. If we choose a job and don't like the pay, find a new one. If we drop out of high school, and then spend our lives in jobs asking 'do you want fries with that?', we can't go on strike to say that its someone elses' fault we made that decision.

Yesterday I heard something on the radio about London taxi driver's being on strike because they wanted more  holiday pay - they had to work on Boxing Day a public holiday and wanted two more days off. I am not sure of all the details but basically if taxi drivers are on strike, people will find other ways to get around so they won't spend their money on taxi fares. In the long run, they may start to avoid using taxis and the taxi companies lose income which doesn't help them or allow them to easily pay their employees more.

There was the Verizon strike this summer where management was harassed and ended up in several criminal arrests. I am not sure how much that helped the workers cause. I mean they were upset with management and wanted more compensation but if they resort to criminal activities as part of their strike, I think management might be less inclined to be nice to them in the future.

But another strike is a bit more serious. There are 10,000 doctors on strike in Rajasthan, a state in India, protesting pay rates and promotion opportunities at the state hospitals that cater to the poor and want to be on par with their federal counterparts. Maybe they have a valid point and should be able to strike. They are finding other doctors - from the Army and elsewhere to fill in - and 420 doctors have been arrested for being on strike. Unfortunately this can result in consequences for the patients. The government claims no deaths yet but how long can this go on with interim plans?

This leads to the question - does everyone have the right to strike? Are there other ways to show your disagreement with your bosses. While I think everyone has the right to protest, I am not sure about doctors striking. Don't they swear to the Hippocratic oath that says to do no harm? But if they are neglecting their jobs on principle, aren't they potentially doing harm? Their job is to care for patients and by neglecting them, they are not helping their cause.

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