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I started taking sertraline back in 2011 when I hit a serious depressive spell. I stopped last autumn quite abruptly when I ran out of pills in Andover, and didn't have any easy way to refill them. Apparently, 'cold turkey' is not the recommended way to go off mood stabilizers, as I felt really weird for about a month or two. My doctor was aghast when I told her.

Still, it was done, and I noticed some major changes: my moods were much more variable than I was accustomed to. I felt, at times, ebullient and, at others, deeply sad. All would wash over me like a wave and like a wave all would pass. My libido was more powerful and more insistent. This was all acceptable, even desirable, but I also found that I would fly into rages like I hadn't in years, and over trivial matters. I'd get frustrated with something in the kitchen at Mom's house, for example, and I'd be tossing things about, banging pot lids, and swearing up a storm. It was embarrassing for me, and upsetting for Mom. So, about two weeks ago, I started in again on the sertraline. I'm only taking 25 mg a day, but the way it has muted the emotional color in my life has been quite noticeable. Over the past week, I have been settling into a mild depression, a dysthymia, that makes it hard to take care of business–which is particularly embarrassing when I have no business but my own. Still, I'm holding my temper in the manner to which I have grown accustomed, and that's worth it.
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Here's another reason I'm glad I married Millari: she's like walking prozac.  Seriously, it's like this calming influence radiates 5 squares from her.  Tonight I got home a bit late, hungry (and thus crabby) and I wanted only to come inside, eat some food, and maybe finish a BSG fic I have been noodling at all summer.  Because new comics day is tomorrow, I decided to clear some crap out of my minivan.  Somehow, the right cargo door comes off the top track!  The sliding piece just came out, which should not be possible.  After several attempts to get the door back on track, I give up, storm inside, slam things around pointlessly, and seethe.

Then M comes home.

Instantly, I'm calmer, and she goes and fetches tools and lights and we try and figure out what to do.   We try a couple of things, which don't work.  She makes me promise not to get angry, or swear, or break stuff, and to accept that, in all likelihood, we can't fix the door. 

So, after one last attempt, which fails, I give in, acknowledge her wisdom, and pack it in.  Except, just because, I try to shut the door one last time, and it lurches closed.

Maybe she smoothed out the car's mood, too.

All right.  It's late.  Bed.
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This is a press release from my old union about the NLRB decision yesterday. I guess the only good thing about this is that grad student unions at private universities are not illegal, merely no longer accorded official status as unions, which means the schools are not legally compelled to bargain with them in good faith.

Local 2322 Outraged at NLRB’s Decision to Deny Protections of Federal Labor Law to Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants

For immediate release

Please contact James A.W. Shaw at (413) 534-7600 or (413) 582-9853

AMHERST, Mass. (July 16, 2004)—UAW Local 2322, which represents 2,500 graduate student employees at University of Massachusetts Amherst, is condemning a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that graduate teaching assistants are not employees covered by federal labor law.

The NLRB concluded that graduate student Teaching and Research assistants in the private sector are primarily students, and do not qualify for the protections under federal labor law afforded most workers.

“This decision shows that the NLRB is out of touch with reality,” said James A.W. Shaw, a graduate assistant in the department of sociology. “Graduate employees are workers like any other, and deserve the right to form a union just like any other worker.”

Graduate TAs and RAs pay taxes, and are covered by workers’ compensation, health and safety laws, and other workplace laws. The NLRB is now the only government agency that refuses to recognize graduate employee’s employee status.

The decision covers only graduate employees in the private sector, and does not affect graduate students in the public sector, such as those who work at UMass Amherst. Graduate employees at UMass Amherst have been organized since 1989.

“TAs and RAs at UMass have greatly benefited from having a voice in their working conditions through unionization,” said Jennifer Turner, president of Local 2322’s Graduate Employee Organization (GEO), which represents graduate TAs and RAs. “It’s clearly anti-union for the NLRB to take away the right of collective bargaining, which has improved the working lives of graduate employees across the country.”

“The NLRB’s decision has revealed yet again the anti-union agenda of the Bush administration,” said Ron Patenaude, president of UAW Local 2322. “This decision was openly partisan, and reflects George Bush’s mission to undermine labor unions.”

The original decision to grant collective bargaining rights to TAs and RAs in the private sector was made by a bipartisan panel of the NLRB under the Clinton Administration.

“All of the union’s legal and moral arguments were right on,” Shaw said. “However, these Bush appointees allowed their extreme right-wing ideology to interfere with their duty to uphold the National Labor Relations Act.”

GEO’s history highlights the fact that this NLRB ruling actually does not prohibit graduate employees at private universities to form unions. In 1977, the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission (MLRC) ruled that graduate employees at UMass Amherst were not employees and could not form legally recognized unions, just as the NLRB ruled this week. In 1989, however, graduate employees at UMass organized and demanded that the university voluntarily recognize the union.

After a strike, UMass conceded to an election sponsored by a private agency, rather than the government. For four years, UMass and the UAW had a bargaining relationship with each other that included negotiating numerous union contracts. All of this happened even though the state government at that time refused to recognize the right of graduate employees to form a union (In 1994, the MLRC ultimately recognized that right.)

“Despite the NLRB’s ruling, we hope that graduate employees at Brown, Columbia, Penn and other campuses continue their fight,” Shaw added. “Forming a union is a fundamental human right recognized by most nations and the United Nations. Grad TAs and RAs at private campuses should not be deterred by a Republican administration’s wrongheaded decision. Rather, they should fight on.”
grinninfoole: (Default)
Board Overturns TAs Union Membership

Associated Press Writer

July 15, 2004, 3:57 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Graduate teaching assistants at private universities do not have the right to form unions, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled, reversing its 2000 landmark decision that resulted in thousands of new union members.

The board, in a 3-2 decision along party lines, ruled that a unit of about 450 graduate teaching and research assistants at Brown University in Providence, R.I., could not be represented by the United Auto Workers because the members were school students, not employees.

"Because they are first and foremost students, and their status as a graduate student assistant is contingent on their continued enrollment as students, we find that they are primarily students," the decision said.

Brown University did not immediately have a comment. A UAW official in Washington was unaware the decision had been made, but said the union disagreed. "We strongly disagree with it and we think it reflects this administration's anti-labor orientation," said Alan Reuther, the union's legislative director.

Organized labor had sought and won the 2000 decision by the NLRB under the Clinton administration, allowing graduate teaching assistants at New York University to unionize. It was the first private school to do so.

The NLRB under the Bush administration said that decision was wrong because it reversed more than 25 years of board precedent.

"In our decision today, we return to the board's pre-NYU precedent that graduate student assistants are not statutory employees," the decision said, adding that this "longstanding approach changed abruptly" under the 2000 ruling.

The decision was sent to the involved parties on Tuesday.

Unions have been active on college campuses trying to recharge the labor movement. Union membership has been declining, and labor leaders view recruitment of younger, part-time workers as a way to reverse that trend. The UAW and the American Federation of Teachers are the leading unions courting graduate teaching assistants.

Some state-supported schools allow graduate teaching assistants to unionize and some don't depending on various state laws.
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press


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