Trapped Indoors

This article is reprinted from the Speak Out Now healthcare newsletter at Kaiser and Highland Hospitals in Oakland, CA.

In a recent memo sent by the Kaiser administration, we were warned not to leave the downtown Oakland building during our lunch breaks. This was after a couple of workers at Kaiser were victims of theft in the nearby area. It is an awful experience to be robbed when you are winding down from long hours at work, but is hiding at our workplace really the solution? While being potential victims of crime sounds horrible, so does the idea of being trapped inside, with no place to go but the building where we already work for most of our waking hours. Once you are stuck inside, it is an easy thing to just keep working, and never take a proper mental or physical break. In sum, what is really at stake is our mental sanity.

Crime has deep roots in the way that our society is thoroughly unequal, with so many people living in poverty with no opportunities in sight. Because of that, coming up with solutions that don’t address these deep-rooted causes might cause more harm than good. Especially if these solutions come from management, who consciously or not are always trying to make us work more.

In other words, before we agree with whatever easy fix management has in mind, it is worth looking at what we might be sacrificing by going along with their solutions. Still, together we can take steps to minimize our risks, such as going out to lunch in groups, or walking our coworkers to their cars. We keep each other safe!