I didn't expect to be blogging this weekend. I was supposed to be in the Chattanooga area visiting my wife's family. But I got struck down by an ear infection. And then I got struck down again by what my 17 year old dermatologist believes was an adverse reaction to amoxicillin, a drug which I have taken without incident for years for sinus infections and upper respiratory stuff. My lips and tongue swelled up and these attractive red lesions presented themselves around my nose and mouth.
So here I am sitting on the porch instead of scaring small children in restaurants in Appalachia.
I would rather be up there because if I were up there I would not feel compelled to write about the latest inanity to come out of the mouth of the Winner Of The Electoral College(WOTEC). But these pearls on his part present teachable moments on mine as I have written in the past. And so I go forward once again in my capacity as hectoring scold, albeit one who looks as if he has been beaten with a pipe.
As you may have heard most of the civilian workforce of what passes for the United States Government are not on the job as I type. This is because the House of Representatives, which got defanged in the last election, refuses to appropriate money in the latest spending bill for the building of WOTEC's wall on the southern border. WOTEC for his part has said that he will not sign any appropriations bill that doesn't include the funding. And he says that he is prepared for the "shutdown" to last for years.
I don't much believe this. That would take some stones. And Nancy Pelosi's are bigger then his. A sign that the pressure may be getting to him a little popped up in the media last night and this morning.
According to a story published in The Hill, during what it described as "an incendiary rant" in a meeting with Congressional leaders Friday WOTEC said that he preferred to refer to the absence from the job of 800,000 souls as a "strike" rather than a furlough.
That's right. A strike.
Where to begin? Focus.
I know something about employment law. I clerked for a union law firm when I was in law school. I represented folks that had been denied unemployment compensation as a Legal Services lawyer. I represented the government in employment discrimination cases. I currently represent a small business that occasionally has personnel issues.
So let's start out with something that I haven't seen anyone else mention. A strike is an intentional work stoppage by employees as the result of a dispute between employees and the employer, to keep it simple.
The key? "Intentional work stoppage" as the result of "a dispute between employees and the employer."
The current brouhaha is the result of a political crisis between the Executive and Legislative branches of the United States Government. It was not initiated by the workforce.
It is manifestly not a strike. Indeed, it is against the law for federal employees to go on strike.
If anything, the crisis at hand more closely resembles a "lockout" like you see from time to time in professional sports. The owners declare a "lockout" whenever they can't get a collective bargaining agreement signed by the player's union. Players don't get paid. They are not allowed access to team facilities for training and whatnot. They are "locked out" until the crisis is resolved.
So why would WOTEC refer to the furlough as "a strike" when nothing could be further from the truth? Any of a number of reasons come to mind. First of all, WOTEC lies all the time about everything. Secondly, he is not particularly bright and neither is he well versed in basic literacy about how the government works. And so I suppose it is within the realm of possibility that he truly believes that if workers aren't showing up to their duty stations then they are ipso facto ( I get to say that. You don't.) "on strike."
Here's what I think. As I alluded to earlier, I think WOTEC starting to feel a little pressure concerning the furlough crisis that he caused by foolishly doing the bidding of his oracle at FOX/TASS and not signing the Continuing Resolution to fund the government a week or so ago. WHICH HE HAD AGREED TO SIGN.
He did this so as not to rile up "his base." Well guess what? Some members of his base need food assistance. They are counting on getting tax refunds. Instead of MAGA trash and human poop is piling up in National Parks because the contractors responsible for janitorial services-guess what?-they can't work either.
So, as is his typical fashion for taking no responsibility for his actions and in an attempt to deflect attention from the crisis that is of his own making, WOTEC prefers to refer to the furlough as a strike. And after all, everybody hates unions.
Except it's not a strike. It's a political crisis caused by him.
Thus endeth the lesson.
As I finally feel like getting out for a bit and because I have got the envies for a cheeseburger I may go find a bar, have a couple of drinks and watch football. The one down the hill is pretty dark.
Which is good. I would hate for the other patrons to think they are sitting next to someone with Hansen's disease.
I am nothing if not considerate.