Redshirts: The Expendables.

A retro trading card about Union Membership.

A retro trading card about Union Membership.

Just as a point of fact: the Teachers’ Union in Los Angeles chooses to wear red as its unifying color. Much like the expendable, often killed off, generic characters in Original Series “Star Trek.” You didn’t want to beam down to the planet wearing red, even though redshirts were the bulk of the crew.

This is a post, in part, about Union voting, hence the expendable Redshirts above.

The recent Union voting on the contract has come and gone. The vote itself was interesting, to say the least. According to UTLA itself, “an overwhelming majority UTLA members voted to ratify our Collective Bargaining Agreement with LAUSD and the Health Benefits agreement. More than 25,000 members voted. This historic 83% turnout and member support for both agreements are further evidence of the power of our organizing.”

I’m not so sure that it’s about “the power of our organizing” and more about the fact that a person with any rudimentary ability to do math would be in favor of a ten percent pay raise. The results were fairly obvious, given those stakes: on the contract 97.4 percent said “yes.”

That “yes” is pretty much to a ten percent increase in pay. The other contract riders also cost money, and seem at odd with ultimately getting to that ten percent. Although I question my own Union Leaders’ ability to actually read and understand a balance sheet, apparently my colleagues, en masse, did not.

Health benefits were also overwhelmingly voted in favor of by the union membership. Again, go figure. Still, the day of this post, May 12th, is the day that the School Board is supposed to vote to finalize approval for the agreement on the table. Prior to this, all Board members have expressed support for the agreement…we will see the reality at the final vote. I, for one, expect the contract to be approved, whether it is financially realistic or not.

The whole thing, red t-shirts and all, got me thinking about The Original Series “Star Trek.” You see, the redshirts on that show, on the Enterprise, get everything done. The red uniform shirt indicated Operations, Ship’s Services and Security, as well as Engineering. Basically, if you wore the red shirt, you did the day to day things that kept the starship Enterprise running. I recently downloaded “Star Trek: Trexels” to my Kindle Fire, which is basically a building game. Every time you build a crew quarters room, you get a redshirt…and they do the overwhelming amount of the game. Most of the time you are assigning them to simple jobs that run the ship, and let you play the rest of the game.

I have eleven redshirts now (in the Trexels game, which I recommend), and the ship still never seems to have enough power. Hence, the trading card art…I’m always sending redshirts to power generating rooms like the fusion core, trying to get more power to the ship. Klingons, the Haters of space, beam in to the ship pretty often to hassle that whole process, which is why they all have phasers in the art. Apparently, when I run the starship, it is a whole lot like my school, and you need to have phasers at the ready for whatever random Hater makes it to your workstation.

I think the elimination of redshirts, who are the more junior officers on the show, directly reflects the elimination of teachers, in reverse order of seniority…regardless of quality. The analogy really holds up, and should be strongly considered, True Believers. the other extreme of seniority, news just came through that our “Interim Principal” is now the “Principal”…a permanent placement. I think that the school needs strong leadership, and I hope that she can provide it. With over a dozen teachers absent on Monday, and the last two months having a number of Hater based infractions almost equal to the first five months, I’m wondering very strongly if any one person can stem the unfortunate tide. I have my doubts.

Around December, I had the protagonist recruiting Klingons from near the Adorable Zone. That got me to thinking…there must also be Redshirts near the Adorable Zone. That led to this “B” sketch, of redshirts from the Adorable Zone:

Ready to patrol the Adorable Zone.  Expendable but cute!

Ready to patrol the Adorable Zone. Expendable but cute!

About the card art…it was real work to get that faded, trading card from the late sixties/early seventies color palate and design. I’m still not super happy with it, but it definitely came out okay. There’s no process art for it, because a huge amount of it was done digitally, a rarity for me. A big part of the point of Adequacy is to have me experiment with the medium, in different ways.

The good news of Monday was an offer to sit down and talk about a non-Adequacy comics project this summer. That’s a Big Deal, especially because Adequacy itself was basically an ongoing portfolio for that. I’m looking forward to the meeting, even if I might not yet have the chops for the project.

On that hopeful note…Exclesior!

Next Issue: On Demand Resources…!


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