For the most part, the pseudo circus atmosphere that hovers over the city, attracting wanna-bes, where-with-alls, homeless entrepreneurs with nothing more than cardboard signs; software entrepreneurs with Ferraris, Porsches, and trophy blondes; and loons, lovers, losers, and visitors from all over the world, entices creativity and culture- in a variety of forms seldom found in other geographic enclaves.
And while acceptance of sights unseen in less interesting hamlets is a given – if you don’t like what you see turn the channel – some acts are repulsive to the point of disgusting.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to observe a disturbing act played out in
Casey and his team claim the hotels are asking for more work and responsibility and scheduling less staff to accomplish the work. They also are balking at the proposed $5.00 a month Health Benefit increase. On the other side, the hotels are claiming health costs are rising rapidly and they can no longer afford to carry the burden.
Casey of course, has been promoting the mini strikes in style. That’s his. And, the union members, who obviously feel Casey has a point, take to the sidewalks, bull horns and signboards in hand to disrupt whatever spirit the holidays bring to The Square.
In an economy that shamefully boasts an unemployment rate of 10.2% the striking workers should be equally ashamed of the actions they are participating in. Not only are they disrupting their places of employment, they are hurting other retailers on the perimeter of Union Square that are barely hanging on due to the slumping economy, the decreased tourist volume and rents that still skyrocket while economic indicators plummet.
Naturally the strikers are a passionate crew. Give any group a bull horn, a union scripted chant, a sign, and a cause and workers turn into lemmings. Casey could probably get them to march to the sea.
I am sure Casey feels that his union deserves better. And, I am also sure the management feels they deserve better. But I have to wonder if striking during the worst economic downturn in an economy is the brightest maneuver.
It’s a travesty, in my world, that the Unite Here! Workers are striking while others are walking the streets looking for work. It’s unfortunate every one of the workers on the sidewalk couldn’t be replaced tomorrow.
But that won’t happen. It can’t. But one thing that can happen, the next time I stay at a hotel with a Unite Here! Local 2 union member on the housekeeping staff, the gratuity I usually leave upon check-out won’t be on the dresser.
I think I’ll give it to a homeless entrepreneur who needs a new piece of cardboard.