This piece is a follow up to Feline Local 2010 and was written in the summer of 2012 and is published here for the first time. My rationale for posting it here? There are not nearly enough cats on the web. Enjoy.
Feline Local 2010 and RTW
At first the new Right to Work (RTW) law did not seem to have much effect on Feline Local 2010. All the members vowed they would stick together and for a time it seemed they might. Mice were caught, ears were scratched, and the rhythm of the days continued largely unchanged.
As spring rolled around things began to change. This was a busy time for the cats and often there was chaffing at the amount of time spent on rodent patrols. This year, with the early spring and the Local shrunken due to attrition, the grumbling grew even louder. Some of the younger cats started complaining about ‘what had the Local done for them lately’ and talking of the other things they thought they could use their dues on. Some of the bigger eaters among the bunch especially resented giving up a small portion of food each week, and one had even heard on Canine News that some of his dues had gone toward the new comfy chair that only the humans and Queen Hops got to sit on.
So one by one the dropped out, and stopped paying their dues. A few remained, and tried to carry on the work of the Local, but with neither the paw power nor the resources the Local just sort of shriveled up and died.
The humans watched this all unfold with a kind of amazement. They had hoped that by enacting RTW they would make it easier for cats everywhere to get adopted, that without pesky unions getting in the way more humans would want to relocate cats to their houses. And as time passed in their own home, and they did not have to hear grievances or ask for consensus on things, they thought everything was just fine in the new RTW world. They even began to think about how much they spent on the pension for Queen Hops and how much young Gaylen, with his bad genes and pre-existing condition, was costing them, and they began to question if that money might not be better spent in something more lucrative.
A trip to the shelter changed the humans view. While dropping off some supplies the human asked if adoptions had picked up and was greeted with a sigh. Yes was the answer, they seemed to be up a bit, but the quality of the adoptions was way down. They were seeing more and more returns, often coming back in worse condition then they had left the shelter, and stories from vets were filled with cases of abuse and neglect on a level not seen in decades. Without proper laws to protect them, and the ability to form into meaningful unions for their own defense, the shelter volunteer said, it seemed that far too many people now viewed pets as little more than cheap labor and a resource to be used and discarded at their whim.
The human was shocked at this, and checked other sources hoping that what he heard was not true, but virtually everyone he spoke with said just about the same thing. RTW may have increased adoptions but the quality of those adoptions had gone down dramatically and all pets were suffering for it.
So the humans took a vow. They vowed to continue to treat their animals with respect; they vowed to continue to listen to grievances and to try to be fair; and they vowed that they would fight to repeal RTW to work, for the good of all.v