Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Somewhere in the middle....

Now that the national elections are over, another showdown is looming. The arena, interestingly enough, is my office.

My office has two unions. One has been in existence for more than two decades. The other is only nine years old. The older one is recognized by management. The younger one is least as far as for purposes of collective negotiation are concerned.

Currently, a petition for certification election has already been filed with the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) though as of this date the petition is still pending and hasn't been decided upon. The way things are going, it can go either way, and I really have no idea how the BLR will decide the issue.

The established union is claiming that it holds the majority status and that it possesses the requisite accreditation issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) required by law before one can become the collective negotiating agent for a particular workplace. The young upstart on the other hand, is claiming that the accreditation the other party possesses is invalid/illegally obtained, that it also possesses the majority status, and that a certification election should be held so that the rank-and-file employees can choose which union they want to represent them.

The thing is, without going too much in to the technicalities and legalities of both parties' arguments, to my mind, both of them are right. And both of them are wrong. As to which is which, that's for the BLR to decide, and not for me to elaborate.

I'm not affiliated with either side. I'd like to say that I'm completely unbiased...and in fact maybe I am...or I'd like to think that I am. I don't really favor one side over the other at this point in time. I guess you can say...that I'm somewhere in the middle.

I have a lot of friends in the older organization. At one time or another I may have provided some assistance to them, though nothing official or anything in the way of serious or heavy stuff. Though I don't always agree with the way they do things, I really don't have a personal axe to grind against any of the officers or members. And that's fine with me.

In the newer organization, I played a more critical role, well, at least at the start. I was one of the founding members and was even an officer for a time. I was the one who drafted the Constitution and By-Laws and the one who thought of the name, though few, if any still remember. That was way back in 2001 though. By 2004, I had already resigned as an officer and even withdrew my membership. I had my reasons, but the main thing for me is that I believed that the organization no longer upheld the ideals for which it was established, I found it appalling there are just some people who would, deliberately or otherwise, undermine the hard work performed by some just like that.

Fast forward six years, and the two are at it again. Not only are they bickering through press releases or what not, it has reached the BLR, and even the regular courts as criminal cases have now been filed. If my information is correct, this is only the beginning as administrative cases are also set to be filed.

I find this a bit saddening. I have a lot of friends from both sides, and it is not impossible that some of them may even be subjected to preventive measures or even meted penalties because of their actions, whether they believe them to be principled or not.

I'd like to help if I could, but it is difficult to do so without compromising my neutrality, and at this point in my career, if you can call it that, I'd rather get by without offending or antagonizing anyone anymore. I've been there, done that, and to be honest, I never really got anything out of it, and worse, I may have been used as a tool by some people to get what they want.

I can't help it if I had always been a sucker for a good cause...even if some people just want to take advantage of it.

And now, I choose to stay somewhere in the middle. This is somewhat a new thing for me, since more often than not it's the circumstances which dictate that I stay in the middle. It's not often that I'd actually get to choose being in the middle, and whether it's by destiny or by design...I never really liked being in the middle, being in Limbo.

Unfortunately, that seems to be my lot in life. To be neither here nor there, when the irony is I, to my belief at least, have a strong set of principles and am highly opinionated when it comes to just about anything. Maybe constant failures or up and coming middle age has a way of softening hardened ideals, of taking away the edge. I don't know anymore, the same way I don't know a lot of things anymore.

Maybe I'm maturing. But is maturity synonymous with losing one's passion for people...for ideas...for things, and simply being content with one's fate? Maybe, but that's for another post to explore.

I just hope things resolve themselves soon. And if possible, without any casualties. Besides, I could really use the bonus. :-) That's just an attempt at humor though. I'm not really suggesting that my ideals are for sale. It's not as if they're worth anything in the first place.

tripping hard falling down onto the ground
cause I can't stand up
and I can't fall down
and I'm somewhere in the middle of this

well I find it hard
I always tried to find the sane life
but I don't like the way things are
and I keep falling to my knees
somewhere in the middle of this

- From the song "Somewhere In The Middle" by Dishwalla. One of my favorite songs...from a what seems to be a lifetime ago.

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