Sunday :: May 11, 2008

American Workers Are Not Parts


by paradox

To the absolute surprise of no one the sorry-assed excuses daring to call themselves human beings “managing” Circuit City offered the company for sale yesterday, failing in their cash flow as badly as they failed the workers they were responsible for. There are a great many elements of America in need of urgent change in the 21st century, and surely one of the most desperately needed is a complete turnaround from the outrageous business norm that American workers are merely parts, anything goes in any sickening attempt to keep a business profitable.

For those who don’t know, Circuit City fired all of its experienced better-paid sales staff in 2007 and replaced them with cheaper new hires, all those long hours of sore feet, learning arcane product knowledge, dealing with the public and bringing in the life blood of the company simply tossed to the winds. There is no American life without a decent job, you invested years into this one playing by all the rules but poverty and no health insurance is what you get. So?

The outrage is launched into incredulity with knowledge Circuit City is a public company, the men so casually crushing the lives of Circuit City workers are allegedly answerable to a board of directors! Not only did the Circuit City CEO dare to implement and report such a stupid and offensive business tactic, incredibly, he kept his job. At a paltry $8.5 million a year.

Circuit City is by no means a unique American business story, gross abuse and exploitation of the American worker is a completely common tactic for public companies in the United States. I still feel sick when I remember the morning I found out about FedEx Ground this year, what this disgusting company inflicts upon its workers still surprises me, even in these grim times.

Somehow FedEx “management” decided that the human beings delivering the packages for the company really weren’t their employees, and even that the trucks carrying the freight weren’t theirs either. FedEx Ground drivers are trapped into being “independent contractors” who have to buy and maintain the equipment for the company! For poverty wages, of course, with no benefits, nothing but exploitive toil in a tough job resulting in common tales of horrifying abuse.

Yet all of this was done in plain sight as if it was a completely normal American experience, regression and cruelty are commonly accepted as a societal norm without comment. FedEx Ground will fight with everything it has to squelch the inevitable pushback from its “contractors,” accepting them as employees and human beings only when absolutely forced to. If they ever do.

I for one will never accept the outrage of treating American workers as expendable parts, no matter the massively powerful forces arrayed against us or how normal our politicians seem to accept the phenomena. What FedEx Ground is doing to its workers is not the pursuit of happiness, not in any sense, it is not America, we are capable as a people of being so much better than this, and I’ll spend the rest of my life fighting it.

paradox :: 8:19 AM :: Comments (32) :: Digg It!