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"...tell them to train to become an xray tech"

Don't forget the 'nologist' part of that my friend! My wife is an X-Ray Technologist. Not a technician. Big difference there. She carries the degree that goes with being an 'nologist'! :-) And yes, the pay is very very good. She has been in this field going on 20 years. Me? I am but a simple Transit Mix Operator. (Cement truck Driver) She finally passed me up in hourly pay about two years ago. When the demand for that field increased, on a huge scale. (as you mentioned) Which is really impressive if you consider that my base pay is determined through a 'Collective Barganing Agreement' (can you say 'Strike') with the Teamsters Union and the Company. She now is about 2-3 DOLLARS ahead of me, and if it weren't for my overtime, anually, she would slay me! My pension kicks her butt though. the Hosp where she works offers next to nothing in a pension. Which is why I got her into the 401k around 10 years ago, the same time I opened mine. With our combined 401k's and my pension, we should be 'Alright', come the 59 years. (Target retirement age)
Oh I know the semantics part. I technically am called a Radiologic Technologist 5 working as a Cardiac Catheterization Technologist / Interventional Radiology Technologist (let's see, did I spell all that right?). There is a big ongoing debate because most people would think we just push buttons and that makes us a "technician". They feel a technologist is better. I don't know one way or the other, but it's a fickle and variable problem.

I am also in a union: affiliated with AFL/CIO in Local 250. Our Local has merged with the Southern California union and the goal is to bring all up to better wages. That's great in theory, but, when you live where I live and the average SFH costs $1.2 Million (I kid you not - here's the link for Feb. 2007 data - I can't have alot of sympathy with somebody who makes my rate but has to deal with average home prices of less than $500,000 (,0,2944868.story?coll=la-class-realestate-selling)
. Anyway, the union of course has good and bad issues, I have been a shop steward and seen both sides of the fence from management and labor. But, this is about retirement.

Our union has negotiated a great contract with minimum 4% annual raises, revenue sharing (based upon measurable statistics such as cost savings) and just recently (finally!) a 401k matching, of sorts (1% of salary for the year - once again based upon measurable and attainable goals - for me, that includes all OT and call, not just base pay).

I'm fine with the union but have problems with some policies and procedures.

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