Saturday, April 29, 2006

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El día se acerca rápidamente y el miedo de las corporaciones americanas es muy palpable, particularmente los que emplean a millones de inmigrantes en trabajos de servicio; hoteles, restaurantes, hospitales, etc. Éstos no son miedos infundados. La ausencia de trabajadores en cualquier compañía lastimará su capacidad de proveer producto(s) a sus clientes, ya sea un producto tangible o intangible.
Aquí en Las Vegas, los casinos y la unión de trabajadores, “exhorta" a sus miembros (sobre todo trabajadores de hoteleros) que no dejen de trabajar y que mejor atiendan a una "reunión" después de el trabajo donde pueden firmar una petición que será enviada a los representantes del estado en el congreso. Esto reducirá al mínimo el ausentismo el 1 de Mayo; por lo menos ésa es la meta. ¿Va a ayudar? Mi opinión es que habrá bastantes trabajadores ausentes pero las compañías han establecido ya planes para lidiar con esta situación. Lo interesante de esta “amistad” es el hecho de que la unión y las compañías aquí encontraron tierra común. En vez de que la unión llamara para apoyar a las marchas, acordó organizar un mitin con los presidentes de los hoteles. Por supuesto lo están haciendo por pura conveniencia. El contrato entre los hoteles y la unión va a ser re-negociada muy pronto y esto le ayuda a la unión a pedir mas concesiones.
¿Y los trabajadores que?
Habrán mas marchas y habrá gente que no trabajara en todas partes del país este Mayo1, de eso no hay duda. Todo esto afectara las decisiones tomadas por el Congreso No duden que la presión de los grupos cívicos y el miedo a que las marchas podrían aumentar en frecuencia y tamaño afectará las decisiones que el congreso toma. Es absolutamente posible que si no se hace nada, la premisa de la película, "A Day Without Mexicans" pudiera ser realidad.

May 1 a day without

May 1, a day without immigrants.

The day quickly approaches and the fear of the American corporations is palpable, particularly those that employ thousands of immigrants in service jobs; hotels, restaurants, hospitals, etc. These aren’t unfounded fears. They have seen hundreds of thousands of marchers across the country express their support for legislation that will allow some sort of amnesty for the undocumented population of the U.S. and as time passed since the marches began just a few weeks ago, the significance of May 1, as the day of the worker, has become greater here in the States. Typically Labor Day is celebrated in September. In many other countries, Labor day is May 1. So, why are the corporations afraid? one simple term, profits.
The absence of workers on May 1 in any company will hurt their ability to deliver product(s) to their customers, whether it is a tangible or intangible product. This in turn affects their bottom line in unhappy customers and when you are dealing with thousands and thousands of customers daily, it can get a bit frightening. In the service industry, this is dogma. So what to you do about it?
Here in Las Vegas, the large corporations and the local union, have teamed up to “encourage” their members (Mostly hotel workers) to show up for work and instead, attend a “rally” at a very popular spot here in town where they can sign a petition which will be sent to the State representatives in Congress. This “should” minimize absenteeism on May 1; at least that is the goal. Is it going to help? My guess is that there will be plenty of workers who will be absent form work but the companies have already established plans to deal with this issue. What I find interesting is the fact that the union and the companies here found a middle ground with regards to this issue. Instead of the union calling for support from their membership for the marches, they have agreed to hold the rally. Of course they are doing it for leverage. Contract negotiations are beginning soon, so instead of antagonizing their counterparts, they are willing to cut a deal that will help the hotels get through May 1 without major issues. I am wondering if this has happened in other parts of the country.
What about the workers?
There will be people marching and missing work throughout the country on May 1, no doubt about it. Will it affect decisions made in congress in regards to immigration? In the long run, I think so. There is no doubt that the pressure that civic groups and the fear that the marches could increase in frequency and size will affect the decisions that Congress takes. It is quite possible that if nothing is done, the premise of the movie, “A Day Without Mexicans” might come true.

Monday, April 17, 2006


There is a strong message on Easter Sunday that doesn't have anything to do with Bunnies or Easter eggs.

It is an uplifting message of hope and new life out of death. Whether you are religious or not, you cannot help but to listen and reflect. I guess the message is stronger after you suffer some form of tragedy, distress or life altering event.
I make it a point to attend at least a couple of services throughout the year; Christmas, Easter and whenever Olivia is singing in the choir. Of course there are plenty of excuses, not reasons, not to attend. My main one is that I like to sleep in on Sundays, have pancakes and just enjoy the morning. I used to go every Sunday to church back in Mexico, now it is here and there, particularly when Olivia wants to go. She is there a lot more frequently than I am so, I suppose I should make some kind of personal commitment with God about being a regular attendee at one of our churches.
It isn't being with churchgoers, or what the preacher, priest, pastor may say. It is the message I get out of it and the connection I make with my own self or god. Is it a matter of age?
I stopped going in my mid-twenties and as I grow older, I feel the need to have a closer connection with God.
What do you do?
What do you think?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

One More Year

Another year that goes by.
Another torrent of memories unleashed.

It was early in the morning. Standing on the balcony at the Century Plaza in L.A. There was a thick blanket of fog enveloping the building. I could barely make out the railing that kept me from the ground bellow. Barely a sound around or maybe I just shut down all my senses. It seemed so peaceful up there. I did think of jumping and only one thought kept me from doing it.
How do I go about telling her that her mom had just died a few hours before?
Barb had just gone through a bone marrow transplant at UCLA Medical a few days before. Our hopes were so high that she would get through the transplant, but a few days after, things began to turn for the worst.
The last thing I remember telling her was that we were going to take her down into the ICU for close observation. She replied with tears in her eyes, "OK, OK." Because of pain they had to heavily sedate her. After that, she was barely conscious while her body began to show signs of deterioration. It took about 5 days in ICU and eventually her vital organs began to fail.
One by one went.
Many doctor came by, who hardly exchanged words with us. Barb's mom and sisters were always in the room and we took turns to go out to get some food or a bathroom break.
It was a certain doctor, whose face I still remember who brought us or me, into full reality mode.
He explained that my wife was dying, that there wasn't much more that they could do. He explained that all the symptoms and signs indicated that her body was shutting down and that eventually her heart would stop beating.
I broke down and cried. Sobbing like a kid whose ice cream just fell off the cone. I cried on my mother in law's shoulders and embraced comforting each other. There wasn't much else to say. The tears and sobs got in the way.
The future at that point looked so uncertain. The only thought was for my daughter..
and it still is.
Eventually she stopped breathing and then a few minutes later, her heart stopped. And just like that, our lives as we knew them, were over.
We all comforted each other back at the hotel later that morning. Barb's dad had stayed back at the hotel to babysat Olivia while we were at the hospital. We cried more after we told him of what had happened. Olivia was till asleep.
So much pain, so much sadness.
And it doesn't go away easily.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006


Rather than write a long essay about the immigrant movement going on in this country, I will give you my view of the whole thing.

The movement is catching white America by surprise. Not many people expected that thousands and thousands, weeks after weeks of protesters would take to the streets in a peaceful manner. When some people opposed to the marches or to the whole idea of granting any kind of amnesty for immigrants complained that the marchers "should" wave American flags and not the Mexican flag, organizers of these marches asked and suggested to their participants to wave and hold the American flag. Protesters complied and in the last two days, most of the marchers were indeed holding American flags. I suppose that after this weeks protests, the people opposed to the protests will cry "foul" about some other aspect of the marches.

The people opposed to the moveements fail to see that this is not an issue that pertains only to Mexican immigrants. In the marches you will see, besides Mexican flags, Salvadoran, Ecuadorian, and from other countries. But, it isn't just about nationalities or flags.
It is about accepting a group of people into American society. About making them productive members of society who will pay their taxes and contribute economically into the system. I am not suggesting that the amnesty should be given across the board, but rather to those who have been here for a long time, 5 years, 10 years, I am not sure, perhaps at least five years. If the figures being passed around these days are correct, at least 10 million undocumented aliens are living in the country. Of those millions, perhaps the majority have been here more than five years. Drive around any neighborhood in any major city of the United States and you will see many businesses and housing that are owned by immigrants. These people have been working hard and for a long time to attain their dreams. The irony is that many of these people are undocumented immigrants. There are ways of buying a house and or starting a business without having documents. These people have also settled in this country. They have kids who are American citizens and the prospects of going back to their native countries is far fetched. These are the kind of people that need the amnesty. There have to be guidelines to achieve this amnesty. Starting with a "penalty" fee or whatever you want to call it. Say a document fee of $1000.00 or more. If there are at least 7 million undocumented immigrants who will qualify for this amnesty, each paying $1000.00 each, You do the math.
That money will go directly to the tax coffers of the federal government. This can be used to pay back to States that are most "affected" by immigrants or to pay for social services that may need to be provided for many of them. Although, I would suggest that any new applicant or once the amnesty is granted, they cannot receive or apply for social services such as; Medicare, social security, etc. There will always be non profit groups, churches or civic groups that would step in to assist those in dire need.
Yes, they have families back home, parents, sisters, brothers. However, those who chose to stay also have families of their own and the idea of making a deadly trek through the dessert with kids in tow is out of the question.
Most of those daring to come north are single, men and young. The kind of workers that a vibrant economy needs. Now if these people can prove that they have been here at least 5 years, then they should apply. If not, there ought to be other options available that will at least keep track of their whereabouts. At the same time, the federal government needs to do more efforts to seal the border with Mexico.
There are more advantages to granting amnesty than disadvantages.
More of that later...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


So my team didn't make it. They lost in the finals. Florida was convincingly the better team. Time to move on..

Busy week here at work. This weekend there is a concert for Billy Joel and the following day for "Queen" Of course Queen without Freddy Mercury is like KISS without make up, Like the Beatles without John or George, Like Katie Curic without Matt Lauer.....
Now that is stretching it...

Yes did you hear Katie Curic is moving to CBS to do 60 Minutes?...
Should be interesting...

So How is your week?.