Posts Tagged workers

Workplace woes: Hill AFB doesn’t get it yet

I work for one of the best employers in the state, even in the country, one that has won awards for the work environment and benefits it provides for workers. I know I’m very lucky because I’ve also worked in some very bad situations. I took a huge cut in pay when I voluntarily left my former employer. But I had reached a breaking point, and it was worth it to me. That was seven years ago, and I have never looked back.

But not all workers have that option. With a worsening economy and losses in our retirements savings, more are feeling the pressures to remain in situations that are damaging to their mental and sometimes physical health.

For more than two decades, American workers have been pushed to produce more and more, to work longer hours, to take less time off, and to be loyal to the company, all while seeing reductions in pay and benefits. While our European counterparts take a month of vacation—sometimes more, many Americans are not only entitled to fewer days, but are encouraged not to use available time off.

The squeeze has had been taking a toll, and there is probably not enough recognition of how bad it is.

Someone close to me works at Hill AFB, and she suffers from a painful debilitating disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. When the disease is controlled, she is able to perform her regular duties in aircraft maintenance. But when the disease flares, she suffers severe pain and requires medication and rest from physical labor. Yet her supervisors at Hill pressure her to come to work and not use sick leave that is available to her. She fears being downgraded or losing her job altogether and financial security it provides, and she pushes herself too hard trying to satisfy the demands on her. I have heard her talk many times of the depression she feels because of her job, but I did not realize how widespread the problem was at Hill.

News reports tell us about a tragedy that has been playing out at at HAFB. The suicide rate among HAFB workers is double that of other Utahns, which is also one of the highest in the country. Why? Some blame pressures of the workplace. Read the rest of this entry »

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