Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a bit of proof that everything is terrible

via The Washington Independent:

Stay Home if You Have Swine Flu, Unless You Work at Wal-Mart

By Mary Kane 11/4/09 9:07 AM

During the summer, when swine flu was not yet a widespread reality in the United States, giant retailer Wal-Mart made the news for being in talks with the government about possibly distributing the swine flu vaccine through its extensive network of stores.

But now the swine flu has Wal-Mart under scrutiny for a very different reason: Accusations that the retailer is leaving employees infected with swine flu little choice but to come to work, due to its punitive sick leave policies.

Citing a report by the National Labor Committee, the Institute for Southern Studies’ argues on its blog Facing South that Wal-Mart is essentially contributing to the spread of swine flu by making it financially prohibitive for employees to miss work when they fall ill.

Employees of the Arkansas-based retail giant — even its food handlers — feel they have no choice but to work when they’re sick. That’s because the company gives workers demerits and deducts pay for staying home when they’re sick or caring for sick children.

It gets worse:

The situation is particularly difficult for Wal-Mart workers who are single parents. The NLC reports on an instance in which an employee got a call from her four-year-old’s preschool telling her to pick up the child, who had a fever of 103 degrees F. Despite the fact that the employee had already worked for four hours that day, she got a demerit point for leaving and lost her wages for the rest of the day.

The report says: “Parents have no choice but to load their children up with Motrin and Dimetap to mask their symptoms so they can go to school.”

Which, of course, leads to a vicious circle of other children at school becoming sick, and spreading it in their families. Not to mention the misery of a sick child facing a full day of school.

What’s particularly interesting is that Wal-Mart includes on its Website some information about swine flu, including frequently asked questions. Here’s the answer to “What should I do if I get sick?”

Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Staying at home means that you should not leave your home except to seek medical care. This means avoiding normal activities, including work, school, travel, shopping, social events and public gatherings.

Unless you work at Wal-Mart. Then, you’d better make it in for your shift if you don’t want your pay docked or possibly lose your job. From Facing South:

Wal-Mart has a demerit system that punishes workers who cannot come to work due to illness. Employees who miss a day due to sickness receive a one-point demerit and lose eight hours of wages.

Employees with more than three absences a six-month period face discipline, and a fifth absence — even for a sick day — will result in what the company calls “active coaching” by management.

A sixth absence leads to what Wal-Mart calls “Decision Day,” when a worker can be either terminated or put on a year-long trial period during which time he or she can be fired for any infraction and cannot be promoted.

The swine flu sometimes can cause people to miss an entire week or more of work. At Wal-Mart, that could get you fired.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s what the Center for Disease Control was hoping for this flu season, as it tries to contain a life-threatening virus. Wal-Mart’s labor policies have long been contentious, but this one could actually create a public safety issue. If these allegations are true, it may be time for public health officials to step in somehow, perhaps with fines for the retailer for keeping flu-stricken employees on the job. And let’s not just pick on Wal-Mart; it’s very possible that other low-wage retailers and business are doing the same thing. Maybe the best option in the absence of any government action is for customers to walk away. Is a bargain really worth it if employees are forced to work while sick with the flu — and potentially help to spread an unusually dangerous virus?

everything is terrible.

im going to lay down for a minute and think about snowflakes.

love and loyalty.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

a sorry excuse for a blogger

i have done quite a lot in the past month... and i haven't updated this thing. what can i use as an excuse?

-my thesis?
-my broken camera?
-chronic fatigue?

all lame. all very lame excuses.

where have i been?

well, everywhere around the edge of this peninsula, basically.

i hosted devin peacock for his birthday on his first voyage to california and i gave him the initial trip to san francisco.

i visited a lot of costume shops to find the perfect look for my ziggy stardust ensemble.

i also have been attending a lot of neighborhood organization meetings in pursuit of a larger demographic for my thesis

i went to the treasure island music festival where all of this happened between the bay bridge and the golden gate:

eric and i took a cab to treasure island (the shuttle line was five blocks joke)

and arrived in time for passion pit, which we didn't need to see up close because they aren't very good live. disappointing.

dan deacon rocked out with his band! apparently it was the first time this tour he'd gotten the ensemble together.

THIS was a show: Deacon makes you wonder why more performers don't break down the barrier between the stage and the audience. He had us form a circle for an interpretive dance contest, twice,
and then crafted the audience into two great tunnels, weaving from the stage to the ferris wheel.

this wasn't the human tunnel, but this was also happening.. monsters line dancing. you know, no big deal.

free art sessions

inflatable lounge areas.

ferris wheel ride!!!

i also saw the Brazilian girls, the streets, dj krush, mgmt (all weren't that impressive)

but then the night really ended with fireworks and a medley of "SHOUT" by girltalk. it was really exciting stuff (especially since i was seated on a man-made pirate ship watching it all happen)

the next day i finally saw beirut. their performance was incredible. zach is such a charmer. i actually saw people in tears., myself included. he played all of my favorites and then some. it was a great weekend.

grizzly bear, beirut and dan deacon were at the top of my list of treasure island performances. grizzly bear were immaculate, beirut was emotionally engaging and dan deacon was just super fun. it was a pleasure to have been a part of their audiences.

clearly i am a fan.

o and i also found out that My study was accepted for the 2010 Western States Communication Association Convention! I'm going to Anchorage, Alaska.


ill be sure to keep you all posted.

love and loyalty