Sunday, August 13, 2006

Industrial Action

The senior staff are about to start negotiations with Norman Stubbins, who is the local Shop Steward on board the Enterprise. He represents the Starfleet Union of Employees (SUE).

Stubbins comes in the room with his assistant Albert Smith. Despite the fact that all on board wear the official Starfleet outfit, they insist on wearing overalls and a flat cap to show their 'solidarity'.

"Now then, Norman" I say, "I understand that you have a grievance."

"Yes I do!" he replies, "And address me as Mr Stubbins. We are not friends here at the negotiating table; you are the Management and we are the Union."

I groan; I sense trouble ahead.

"Get to the point, Stubbins!" Riker impatiently tells him.

"It's Mr Stubbins and Mr Smith!" they reply in unison.

"Very well, Mister Stubbins." I say, "Why are you here?"

"We have several grievances" answers Stubbins, "One of which is that we are not paid enough.". Albert Smith nods his head in agreement, as it seems he always does.

"You are not paid at all" I reply, "Do you not recall that money was abandoned years ago, and we now live in a currency-free society?"

"Well our members think this is contrary to union practices" states Stubbins, "Unless we are paid a salary, we shall be forced to withdraw our labour."

"According to my records." answers Data, "You and Mr Smith do not actually do any work aboard the Enterprise. Most of your time is spent on tea breaks or away on union business at the Rigel IV pleasure planet."

Both Stubbins and Smith look angry.

"Management is insulting the union, Brother Stubbins!" Smith says to his colleague in a quivering voice, "I think we should ballot the members and recommend industrial action immediately."

"I'm inclined to agree with you, Brother Smith!"

"How about if I assimilate the both of you now?" Seven asks them.

Oh dear. This doesn't seem to be going the way of careful industrial negotiations.

"That's it!" shouts Stubbins, "Come on, Brother Smith, let's tell the others that we have been threatened physically by management. They will all down tools. There won't be a starship flying for ages until SUE get what they want."

"Come back, gentlemen!" I plead, "I'm sure we can work out something that is suitable. Currency in the Federation is out, but I'm sure there are some other priveliges you may want."

Stubbins and Smith look at each other.

"Longer tea breaks?" asks Stubbins.

"I'm sure that can be arranged." I reply.

"Increased holodeck time for err...executive union members such as myself and Brother Smith?"

"Of course."

"More union business meetings at the Rigel IV pleasure planet for executive union members.?"


Stubbins shakes my hand.

"Excellent." he says, "Union and Management have thrashed out a fine deal for union members, due to our good negotiations."

They leave with their briefcases and clipboards.

"The 'fine deal' they thrashed out, Number One" I say, "Seemed to be more for their benefit than their members."

Riker smiles and agrees.

"Do they have unions in The Borg, Seven?" asks Beverly.

"Yes" she replies, "But when the drone Shop Steward came to the Borg Queen with his list of demands, he was deactivated. It wasn't a job that wasn't well sought after in a Cube."


moon said...

What I wouldn't give to have a few days, on the holodeck lol...boggles the mind what a person could do lol
here from Michele's, have a great day!

Professor Xavier said...

I'm certainly glad the X-Men haven't tried to unionize. Imagine if I actually hard to start paying them? Gives me shivers.

Lahdeedah said...

i need longer tea breaks.

I wonder if one person can unionize?

Oh I don't have a mgt.

Can I outsource mgt?

Somebody should give me longer tea breaks dammit.

August said...

i love my job as i can have 4 hr lunches and tea breaks that last all afternoon. seriously.

of course, that's not entirely ALL that i get paid to do...

Florence said...

I'm surprised one of them wasn't called Fred. "Right," said Fred, "Let's have another cup of tea." - and old song that aptly describes these two loafers.

You gave in so easily though, do they indeed have any members?

Jaime H. said...

totally OT here, Captain, but thought you might be interested...

Merlyn Gabriel said...

While unions do have their place... I must admit I have never actually seen one at work. Jabba's doesn't have one, and neither does the Emperor. Oh the dancers tried to organise once but ...well... let's just say the Rancor was very well fed.

I don'think anyone has ever even tried that with the Emperor. Although to be honest aside from the fear factor... working for the Empire is cool.

I agree with Florence, theer was a fred missing. And I think you gave in t oo easily. You are the Captian after all. Does Star Fleet really even have unions I mean why if you don't use money and you don't get paid?

I woudl suggest you find competant and eager replacements for their jobs and allow these two to have permenent vacations, it's not like you'd be losing any money over it and everyone would be happy and you wouldn't have to reside over any more silly meetings like this... either that or youget yourself a pet Rancor :)

Wedge Antillies said...

What is good for the Union executives is good for the Union and what is good for the Union is good for the working man! That philosophy works especially well for the Seante of the new Republic, at least when they vote themselves a raise every few years.

The Curmudgeon said...

The flat hat and the overalls are such a powerful image that they've lasted to the 24th Century, have they?

Your story put me in mind of the Rumpole story in which Guthrie Featherson, Q.C., M.P., after his ascension to the bench, became involved in 'negotiations' with the Lord Chancellor's Office. It was a very funny bit when Old Keith made Guthrie put on a flat hat and served beer and sandwiches.

But what is the membership of SUE? Who belongs? And how could a work action impair the operation of the Enterprise?

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Yes, there should have been a Fred. Merlyn, I'm sure those two will agree to a permanent 'fact-finding' visit to Rigel IV the pleasure planet.

Great song, Florence.

Curmudgeon, can't have over a thousand people down tools on the Enterprise!

SHI said...


remind me never to be in the union if I am assimulated

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

well say what you want about unions, but the Local 432 (run by The Henchman) is a great union. Teh best benifit is Dental for all. That comes in handy for henchmen aournd the world who get busted in the chops by heros.

Bailer said...

Captain, maybe you should have left Mister Stubbins and Mister Smith on Rigel IV pleasure planet for a permanent union business meetings!

Sam Spade said...

Hello,Captain,I am a big fan.This is a very funny piece.Alas,there will not be any union jobs left by your time.Solidarity,a great wage for a great job done will be a thing of the past-replaced with Borg like efficiency,or migrant Labor.Maybe that is why there are no Mexicans in Star Fleet.

Vargas said...

Perhaps the two union stewards should have been put on permanent coffee break!

No but really, unions still come in handy in the 21st century where we must all slave for those little pieces of paper!

Barbara said...

I wonder what the union jobs are on a starship.

Florence said...

AOC, you've just solved a mystery for me. I had no idea why Dr. Polaris ruled. Now I do.

Paperback Writer said...


Trinity13 said...

Hmmm, sounds like the Matrix needs a Union.

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