The other day someone told me that The Detroit News had written an article stating that unemployment in the city was almost 50%. I couldn’t believe that. But it’s true and I quote,
“Despite an official unemployment rate of 27 percent, the real jobs problem in Detroit may be affecting half of the working-age population, thousands of whom either can’t find a job or are working fewer hours than they want. Using a broader definition of unemployment, as much as 45 percent of the labor force has been affected by the downturn.”
The last three times I’ve told someone that I work for the Michigan Nurses Association, they’ve said, “You’re lucky. At least the nurses won’t be affected by the economy.”
We all know that’s not true. The lack of jobs has pushed emergency room departments to their limits due to people losing health insurance benefits, created hiring freezes, and hurt family members who have been laid off. New nurses are finding it tougher to get a job in Michigan. Hospitals are cutting back. We feel the pinch.
However. It’s a fact that for the most part, nurses are employable. We’re getting a paycheck and benefits. Even though it may not seem so at times, we’re the “lucky” ones.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are all kinds of things in the workplaces that need desperate fixing. Nurses are taking the brunt of abuse from cuts and short-sighted thinking on the parts of management. These problems need to be addressed and must be met vigorously with a strong nursing voice.
This holiday season, when you’re at the grocery store, throw in a few extra cans of soup into your cart for the local food bank. Pick up some mittens and a hat for a homeless shelter. Donate some toys to an area toy drive.
That fact that we’re employed at a time when many are not does not mean we are so grateful that we take improper working conditions for granted without protest. But it does mean that maybe, at this desperate time for so many of our neighbors, we can share our good fortune with others.
Have a peaceful, safe and happy holiday!