The Union Forever

So the local transit workers are on strike. This doesn't really affect me much, as I walk pretty much everywhere I go (plus an occasional bicycle excursion), but I never quite realized just how much Denver really relies on RTD. The traffic has been crazy for the last couple of days (another reason to be glad that we're able to walk nearly everywhere we want to go) and Mle said that people at her office have been taking as long as 45 minutes to find a parking place now that they can't park on the outskirts of the city and bus in.

About 1/3 to 1/2 of the people in all four of my classes yesterday didn't show up, and many of the people who were there were late. Part of one's student fees go to pay for a pass that gets you on buses and light rail for free, and quite a good chunk of the student population relies on that to get to and from campus. Of course, one particularly dim bulb in my drawing class rolled in an hour late on the one day where anyone could have an ironclad (if not necessarily true) excuse for tardiness and, apparently not being a follower of current events, mumbled something about that morning being his only chance to get to the art supply store. Pays to glance at the paper, I guess...

In other union news...

I got my new shoes yesterday. They're Chuck Taylor clones made by No Sweat Apparel, and I dig 'em a lot. As a longtime Chuck Taylor fan, it pained me to continue buying them after Converse was bought by Nike. I was quite excited to discover that I could get shoes with the cool style of the Chucks without feeling guilty about buying from the Worldwide Leader in Worker Exploitation. All No Sweat apparel is 100% union made.

The No Sweat sneakers aren't exactly like the Chucks - they're a little wider and a little heavier, but I think they're actually higher quality shoes. And they came with a disclosure of wages and benefits for their workers at their factory in Indonesia. They're paid well over the average minimum wage for Indonesian workers, they get medical coverage, a stipend for rice, a pension, a Ramadan bonus (Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world), and something called "Gratification" which amounts to six weeks' salary. I don't think any employer I've ever worked for has ever given me six weeks of gratification.

Anyway, I wore the shoes all day today, and they're quite comfy, and they feel sturdier and give better ankle support than my old Chucks. And if you're an uber-tree-hugging-hippie type (instead of merely an attempting-to-be-socially-conscious type like me), they've even got Hemp sneakers that are sweatshop-free and vegan, too.

If you clicked on that last link, you have shown yourself to be a dirty hippie.