petak, 28.10.2011.



Janitorial Cleaning Schedule

janitorial cleaning schedule

Union Demonstration @ The Boathouse

Union Demonstration @ The Boathouse

While wandering around and testing out a newly acquired legacy lens, a Takumar (Bayonet) 135mm f/2.5 in Pentax K-mount, I came across this interesting demonstration taking place in Central Park.

The Takumar handles quite well, and I'm quite pleased with it. It has a built-in lens hood, and at f/2.8 it's capable of some rather sharp images. At f/2.5 it seems a bit softer, but it's hard for me to tell, exactly - manually focusing this lens is fairly challenging. Even the E-P1's ability to magnify the screen for focus assistance is difficult, as the 135mm focal length means that camera shake is magnified, and simply getting a clear view of what's being focused on can be tricky. When the focus is right, the results are incredibly pleasing. The contrast is quite good, although the lens is very picky about how it is angled against the light. At certain angles, the contrast drops considerably. This may be due to a lack of multicoating on the lens, if I've received the right information about the lens. Regardless, I'm glad to have this in my camera bag, and would only consider replacing it with a 135mm f/1.8 for low-light purposes.

Now, a bit more on this scene, and the union scene in America...

While walking through the Ramble, I heard the distant sounds of a speaker and occasional cheering. I followed the sounds to find this large crowd, gathered in part of a parking lot for the Boathouse restaurant, a famous restaurant in Central Park. I used the opportunity to test my lens, while listening to the speakers.

The first speaker was a fiery sight to behold, and a masterful public speaker. She spoke in Spanish, with her sentences broken as another woman translated into English (although at first, it was unclear to me who was translating for who). Her voice would crescendo on appropriate subject matter, driving the crowd into a frenzy, and she frequently injected sayings of "shame on Dean Poll" between sentences, to which the crowd shouted it back. The following speakers were English speakers and included former restaurant workers and Union leaders. Their speeches and delivery were not as masterful as the first speaker that I heard. It seemed a shame.

What was the issue that they were all gathered over? Apparently the restaurant's manager, Dean Poll, took a very aggressive anti-union stance. Employees who were found to associate with the union or speak favorably about them were harrassed or fired outright. Of course, this provoked the union's attention. Perhaps the tipping point happened a few months ago, when Dean held a holiday party in December for the restaurant workers and said various things to inspire their trust in him. In January, he fired many of the workers - seemingly without a good reason - and one of his deputees made some remark about how the workers were being put out like old chairs. Now, the union wanted leverage with the restaurant.

My own opinion of unions is mixed. My personal experience with them has not been favorable. While coordinating our lab group's move from one laboratory to another, our janitorial staff was scheduled to clean the new space ahead of our arrival. The move was a carefully timed thing without too much flexibility, and I was dismayed to find that a number of shelves had not been touched by the cleaning staff even after they took a few days to go through the new space. I talked with one of my secretarial friends about it, and she informed me that the janitors had not been derelict in their duties. Rather, it was a union regulation that they not clean anything that could not be reached from floor level. In other words, if we wanted those shelves cleaned, we would need to take the time to do it, and "risk" ourselves because we didn't even have any cleaning equipment to aid in making the task easier?

To me, it seemed like the union had simply created a situation where people could get away with not doing the jobs that they were there for. Today in America, I get the sense that many non-unionized workers feel the same way: that unions are abusing their power to give themselves (and occasionally their members) more for doing less.

It wasn't always that way, though. Back around the time of the Industrial Revolution, unions played an integral role in the formation of humane working conditions and in curbing the abuses of management. Many unions arguably carry out those same functions today. Many unions feel threatened by recent government actions, however, as the state of Wisconsin introduced legislation that would limit the power of unions back in early March. Those actions were mentioned during one of the speeches at this particular protest, with the union leader claiming that they would "draw the line here in New York City," ensuring that such a thing never happened here.

I watched this rally as an interested observer, leaving before it ended. As I see it, the union is a type of organization - a "super org

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28.10.2011. u 11:01 • 0 KomentaraPrint#

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