Hurricane Sandy and work: Vacation days, anxiety, stress, and overtime

Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy affect different workers in different ways. Here’s a sampling:

If Sandy is giving you an unexpected vacation day or two, then consider yourself lucky. For millions of other workers, Sandy is a bad, unwanted present that will keep on giving.

For retailers, restaurants, and other businesses that depend upon daily sales receipts and need a safe & secure storefront, Sandy is, at best, a source of deep anxiety and, at worst, a huge blow to the bottom line.

Especially for wage workers at these businesses, lost days of work mean smaller paychecks at a time when money already is tight.

For those working in the passenger transportation business — such commercial airlines, Amtrak, and intercity bus companies — it’s stress meeting stress. Those stranded away from their families and jobs are anxious about getting home, and workers on the receiving end of their long lines, phone calls, and emails are feeling it as well.

If you’ve needed help during Sandy, chances are good that unionized workers — the same people so demonized by the anti-labor far right — have provided a hand. They include police officers, firefighters, and other public safety workers, as well as countless crews from utility companies. Yup, some may be getting overtime pay for helping us through this, but I think we’d agree it’s a worthy expenditure.

3 responses

  1. Union or non-union, if they are hourly employees then they deserve OT. I don’t see what union status has to do with it. The first responders to Sandy have been working around the clock for over 2 weeks.

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