Monday, July 31, 2006

Kindergarten, No Egg, and Unions

I finally worked up the nerve to email the Principle of the Elementary school that my soon-to-be-kindergartner will be attending (he didn't get in to any of the charter schools we applied to). I requested a specific teacher and gave my reasons why I thought this particular teacher would be the best for my son. I also said that I understood that it would be impossible to match every child and teacher according to parents wishes, and that we would be fine with any teacher that he was assigned to.

I heard back this morning that the teachers have already been assigned, but that he's in the class I wanted him to be in! This is the teacher that I said, "if he gets her, I won't transfer him to the charter school if he gets in later". I'm feeling somewhat conflicted about that now. The charter school has uniforms and a really impressive curriculum. The charter school will also be brand new, and it is likely that there will be some problems during the first few years. The neighborhood school is established with all sorts of extra programs, it is within walking distance, and he's been assigned the the teacher I wanted him to have (I think, although now I'm hoping I didn't mix up the teachers....).

It seems the best course of action is to do nothing. It's working out fine so far. I'm just hoping that he doesn't get accepted to the charter school later, or I'm going to have to choose, and that will be hard.

No Egg
I checked several times yesterday, but there was no egg. This is the first day that there hasn't been an egg for the past 6 days. (well, that would be yesterday, hopefully we get an egg today.) Once the other two chickens start to lay, we'll really have the eggs rolling in.

I don't shop at walmart. I have been having guilty feelings about shopping at Target, because really, I don't think it is much better than walmart. Not as big, so not as bad in that way, but still bad.

There are some things that I wouldn't know where to buy (shower curtains for example) without going to some big box store. There are some things that you just can't get, or are not practical to buy at Costco. So how do I decide what my requirements for shopping will be? I would prefer to buy at locally owned stores, but there are just not that many locally owned stores that sell the things I buy regularly. There is a store that sells children's clothing, but it is kind of a boutique and is very pricey.

I think that Fred Meyer/Kroger/Smiths Marketplace (whatever you want to call it) allows workers to unionize. I'm not sure about Shopko (although I don't love shopko, I could handle shopping there if I really needed to (unlike Kmart, which I try to avoid because it is crowded and dirty)).

So is the union issue that big of a deal, would that make a store more worthy of my business? I feel conflicted on the issue, and am not sure what to do about it. I'd like to be responsible with where I spend my money though.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Natalie said...

I am so glad that you got the teacher you wanted. I will be so happy to have you in our neighborhood school. I also want to point out that, while "The charter school has uniforms and a really impressive curriculum," it is also being built in a hundred-year flood plain across the street from the sewage treatment plant on the other side of the Legacy Highway, just past the center for troubled kids and the medical waste incinerator. And THAT is another reason I love my neighborhood school!

wordsfromhome said...

I do not get warm fuzzies about a company simply because the employees are union members. Unions are a means of forcing (good and bad) changes on a company on behalf of the employees, and the employees have to pay dues to the union. If a company treats its employees well and has HR policies that make the employees feel justly compensated and appreciated, a union brings nothing to the party but expense. On the other hand, a union can force the issue with companies that do not voluntarily treat employees well. So I do not consider unionization to be a pro or a con when determining a company's ethical score as a shopper. The unions are often a detriment, though, as they have to continually get more benefits, money, or conditions for the members in order to justify the existance of the union, even when those things are not justified by the economics or real needs. I perfer to look at the company and what it is doing, and leave the unions out of it.

Allie said...

If it floods on the 100 year flood plane, I would imagine that we will be having problems of some sort where our school is too. Mudslides anyone?

I don't think they picked the best spot in the world, but I guess when the other spots don't work out you go with what you can get.

I'm sure I will love our neighborhood school too, but I don't have as strong of feelings about the concerns with the charter school as you (natalie) do.

As for the union issue, It's not so much that I love unions, but when a company who does not treat their employees as well as I think they should also does not allow them to unionize, it tells me that maybe that's not the kind of place I want to support.

I guess I should also be looking into how companies treat their manufacturers, and possibly the average wage for everyday employees.

Emily said...

I like my union because it provides job security (I can only be terminated for good cause unlike your typical California at-will employee), it ensures that I am paid the same as my male counterparts who have the same amount of experience, and our parent organization, the U.A.W., lobbies Congress to protect/increase the $$ in the budget for legal aid for poor people along with other progressive causes. So I feel like my $20 a month in dues is well spent. Our union just helped everyone get a nice raise too. This brings up the question of merit, however I feel like I'm working in an organization where almost everybody truly deserves whatever raise they can possibly get. I don't think a competitive atmosphere would serve us all that well.

I think overall the ability to engage in collective bargaining is does a lot more good for workers than bad. ESPECIALLY in the case of big publicly-held corporations. A corporation's first duty is to its shareholders, not its employees. Cheaper labor = bigger profits. So a union is the only way that workers can assert their interests in this kind of a system. I'd like to think there are a few companies out there that voluntarily treat employees well and make them feel justly compensated and appreciated, but I'm not swallowing the idea that the women in China or wherever who are locked into their factory all day and earn pennies to make my $80 running shoes are being justly compensated, even if they are in fact deeply grateful for their jobs. The world needs more unions.

Thank you for your attention.