An on-call worker’s plight

POSTED ON: Apr 17, 2018 | Bill Shemansky

Late last year, I was excited about taking on a new job in the service industry. That excitement waned as a hidden truth exposed itself: I was required to work on-call.

This was stressful to my life, both financially and psychologically. I received a weekly schedule, but it was always subject to change. And, surely enough, it changed almost every week.

I would get a last-minute “hey, we need you” the evening before an unscheduled day. Or worse, I would wake up to a “we need you this morning” text and have to scramble. I became paranoid about sleeping in on days “off” because I was terrified of missing that possible text.

In a given week, I would have shifts canceled, new shifts thrown my way, and hours cut short at a whim.

There were several times I drove half an hour to work for a scheduled shift, only to get a last-second text in the parking lot, telling me to go back home. Not only was budgeting impossible, with no clue what my week-to-week income might be, but I was losing time, money, and opportunities because of schedule unpredictability.

I was lucky enough to have family and friends to keep me afloat. I can’t imagine doing it alone, let alone having to work a job like that as a parent.

On-call shifts for service workers are a recipe for disaster, and it’s time for our legislators to do the right thing. Let’s pass a fair workweek bill this year.

Taylor Biniarz

Ellington

SW school referendums

In the 2004 election, our Board of Education included a $90-plus million referendum on razing and replacing our elementary schools. It was a presidential election year, and the referendum was defeated.

During the next four years the BOE had a consultant survey the town’s populace to see which of three alternatives we wanted: $25 million to recondition our elementary schools, another $90-plus million plan to partially raze and replace, or a $115-plus million plan to raze and replace all our elementary schools but the one that they would close.

The townspeople wanted the $25 million plan, but in 2008, another presidential election year, the BOE again ran the most expensive plan, which was defeated again.

Superintendent Kate Carter was charged to find a way to circumvent the popular will. The people don’t want to spend $115 million all at once, she said, but in three installments they would consent.

Then someone added a brilliant strategy consistent with Republican orthodoxy: Don’t run the referendums at election time. Run them the March following elections. I say Republican orthodoxy because diminishing turnout seems to be a strategy that Republicans turn to when they begin losing, though the U.S. Supreme Court has usually rejected it as undemocratic (small d).

South Windsor’s elected surrogates unanimously said so what.

The past two referendums were won in March after a November plenary election — with barely compliant statutory written notice the Friday before the vote — with just a 25 percent turnout each time and only 18 percent of total registered voters voting yes.

My taxes have tripled in the past 27 years, which is alright with me as long as we get something for the money. But our schools’ district performance index, a general measure of the quality of education, is only 77. The state’s accepted minimum is 75; we have barely passed.

Our problem isn’t the buildings. It’s the people inside and curricula and syllabi they use.

The third referendum should be held this November; we’ll all be voting.

If so, and if what I consider to be an invidious quest for dubious bragging rights prevails, I will concede to genuine popular consent.

However, if the next referendum is held next March or in 2019, well, so much for democracy.

Michael Wolf

South Windsor

Eastern version of California

Let me try to understand this. Our duly elected officials — politicians if you will — those who presumably are representing the rights and wishes of the majority of their constituents, are doing their best to undermine the rights and guarantees of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Yet at the same time they are attempting to decriminalize, and of course tax, the use of marijuana by legalizing the recreational use of the “gateway drug” — the first step to greater drug abuse.

Only in Connecticut, the eastern version of California. Long live the Constitution State.