“It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.” We’ve all heard this phrase either seriously or in jest. Today it seems all the more relevant in light of the creation of the UNICCO Worker Sainthood that many, including STAND (Sliding Towards a Neo-proletarian Dictatorship), seem determined to perpetuate.

With all seriousness, the task the UNICCO workers perform is not an easy one and in all fairness they don’t get paid much to do it. Having said that, when I walk by a UNICCO worker I don’t think, “Oh it’s so sad what he/she has to do for a living, I think I’ll say hi so they know how much I appreciate their efforts.” Anyone that really does think this is either a member of a vast numerical minority.or just completely full of crap. What I really think is that I’m relieved I’m not the one emptying that trash can or cleaning the restroom, because I’ve done it before and it’s not much fun.

While it’s certainly nice to see that many people seem to be so suddenly interested in the hourly wage of the workers who perform those tasks that most would never dream of performing, watching every other person go up and say “Thank you” to anyone with a broom and a toilet brush is beginning to reach the brink of puke inducement. It would be one thing if that many people actually were appreciative, but instead it ends up being because far too many people just simply wish to assuage their own liberal guilt complex-just before they get in their SUV and head to the Grove (while whining on their cell phone about the price of gas, no doubt).

The value of a certain job is not relative to how much the job is worth to you, the worker; it’s what the job is worth to the employer and the marketplace. The amount the UNICCO workers get paid is what a job changing the trash or cleaning toilets is worth, although UNICCO workers do many other things as well. If working for UNICCO is such a dead end prospect then one should either get a second job or get a different job, like I did when I got sick of making no money riding on the back of that garbage truck several years back.

If the UNICCO workers feel they can get a better deal through collective bargaining with UNICCO, that’s their right and their business. But can we please stop this “workers of the world unite” crap that STAND (which is actually Students Toward a New Democracy) is attempting to promulgate? In the end, while whining about exploitation, STAND may be the biggest exploiters of all.

Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at s.wacholtz@umiami.edu.

December 2, 2005


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