T Nation

Worker's Rights


So I have been thinking lately, looking at unemployment and the expansion of unemployment benefits, about the rights of employees; or lack there of.
Now, I am all for business and I am all for businesses being profitable, but there seems to be a distinct advantage to the company in terms of who holds all the cards.

I am in a good position and have no reason to complain myself, but I have heard story after story of companies taking advantage of employees, freezing raises and so on, just taking advantage of the current climate. For instance, my company made 6 billion more this year than it did last year, but all raises were frozen. Why? Am I mad, maybe a little, but I am not going to pitch a hissy and walk out. So problem number one, we have companies taking advantage of the economic crisis by screwing their employees....There are many examples, I listed one.

The other problem is that companies can unload you for any reason except race. I find this one particularly disturbing. We have no rights in the matter, the company holds all the cards. This is an issue that is not getting much attention, but I think it's high time employees have some protection by the law. I do not think it's right for companies to be able to sift you like wheat and cast you in to the fire when they are done.

I know this sounds mega liberal, but I don't really see it that way. I just don't think you should be able to shit on people at will, but that is literally the power companies hold over us.

Other than unionize (I fucking hate unions) what are yalls thoughts on how to solve this issue. Soft of balance the scale a little bit.

This isn't an issue being looked at right now, but eventually, something will have to be done.


Be carefull there Pat you are going to get a reputation as one of those libs:),I agree with you though, I hate unions also, but they may be a nessasary evil


What I find pretty funny is we expect a raise every year, no matter what we did in the previous year, but get mad when a company is looking at for their best interest. Did you do anything above and beyond this year to deserve a raise or a bonus? IMO, if I owned a business, I wouldn't give raises to employees that just show up and do their job. If they went above and beyond then I would absolutely reward them, but in today's world people expect to get more than they deserve for less.

Honestly just look back a few decades and you will see workers today have many more rights then in the past. Companies are required to pay time and a half, for example, if an employee works over 40 hours. Another example is minimum wage up to $7 something this year. Hell look at unemployment, there is a possibility this rights will be extended again because of the recession.

Remember a company is taking all the risk, especially if it isn't a corporation, and has to continue to invest in the company to stay competitive. We just have to collect our check and look for another job if the company goes belly up. A partnership could go into millions of dollars of debt if they run their business poorly while we have no liability what so ever.


There is a labor market, it is a commodity. If labor does not force the employers to recognize their value, they will never make more money. Most people that labor do not even stay current with inflation



What forces evil capitalists to recognize the value of other means of production?

Why dont they get everything for free?


So why do most places pay over minimum wage after you've worked there a while? I didn't have to "force" my employer to pay me more than minimum wage.


Would you like a law that forces you to stay with a company indefinitely?

You can walk away any time but they cannot lay you off?

Also, as you may have noticed, the US has a shit load of taxes, lots of regulations and the Indians and the Chinese want their piece of the pie.

The fact that European and American wages are not sinking any faster is a small wonder.

I wonder where Ryan is to tell us that those evil foreign capitalists are actually exploiting you, making money by flooding your markets with cheap products.

It is colonialism in reverse and no socialists anywhere to criticize it.

Anyhow, how much money your company makes is irrelevant in absolute terms.

Is the ROI comparable to other companies with a similar risk profile or not?

For if it is not, why would anyone invest in your company and that would not only kill your company but also all your jobs.


There is a balance. Workers must be productive and employees must reward them accordingly. Failing to be productive to the companies you will be out of a job. An employer who fails to reward their successful employees will be looking for new employees and they are at the disadvantage here. To the extent one is in a high demand job one is much better off. Unskilled labor is cheap, abundant, and very easily replaceable. Find a niche!

Employment is not a right and neither is a paycheck. We must create our own demand sometimes.


A friend of mine, a black man, once told me a story about an interaction that changed his life and way of thinking. He was out of work, frustrated, blaming the world for his condition, all the usual "it's not fair" nonsense that we feed ourselves from time to time.

During this time he had a chance meeting with an oriental immigrant, Vietnamese if I remember correctly. During their conversation the Vietnamese man shared the following observation. "I have noticed a strange thing with your people. You always seem to be looking for a job. When my people come to this country, we have a completely different mindset. We are never looking for a job. We are looking for a business. We may take a job for the short term. But we are always looking to turn it into a business."

The Vietnamese man was not trying to insult. He wasn't a racist. He was simply sharing an observation that he found very peculiar.
Now, I will submit that he could have just as easily found this same tendency in whites, Hispanics, or any other race. Maybe he simply saw black people as another minority like himself, I don't know. Whatever the reason, it stuck with my friend. He began thinking differently. He did not have much formal education. He had always worked construction, but for someone else. He decided to change this. He started small and eventually built a very successful and large construction company.

Nice story, but what does it have to do with this post? Simply that you can chose to be the employee or the employer. If you chose to be the employee, you are choosing to exchange a certain amount of your time for a certain amount of money. Other than that, there is very little else owed to you. You can clock out in the afternoon and forget about it. If the company goes down, you polish up the resume and go look somewhere else. If you get mad, frustrated or bored, you can walk away at any time.

If you choose to be the employer, you take much more of the risk, responsibility, worries and strain. However, if you do it right, you get the majority of the benefit.
You can't expect to have your cake and eat it too. You can't expect to have the positive benefits if being an employee and still expect to have the benefits of ownership as well (or vice versa). What you do get to chose is which one to be.


Much much much more.

And you get paid after your suppliers, employees, social security, taxes and bank gets paid.

And they want their money even if your customers have problems paying, or go broke, or are just not in the mood.

Should you be somewhat successful though they will tax you to the gills if you actually want to spend your money, accuse you of exploiting people out of sheer economic ignorance and think that the only reason why you made it and they did not is because only bastards make it in capitalism and they only thing holding them back is the purity pf their souls.


Organized labor


Supply and Demand


If businesses were not organized, I would agree with you but if you have convenient stores on 3 out of 4 corners, they will all pay the same and not deviate unless done quietly. They will only raise their pay when they have to so they do not lose their employees to. Organized labor is the only way to compete in an organized employer world

Those businesses will not pay more for more work they will pay more only if forced to. It is the nature of business



Why dont they get the other stuff they need for free?

Steel, computers, rooms, telephones, electricity?



So it seems that capitalists are competing when it comes to qualified workers?


No, the nature of bushiness is that these 4 stores compete with every other business in the area for their workforce and if those other businesses pay more they can collude all they want to, wont make a lick of difference.


I disagree. Unions suck the blood out of companies and add another layer of bureaucracy. In the end the worker's plight stays the same you just now have union suits getting rich off of supposedly protecting the workers. If companies are not profitable, they'll cease existing.


Yes, I absolutely did and it is noted in black and white. Second, it is the workers, not the upper management who make the company money.

In today's world companies work fewer employees harder with no extra compensation. If you have a group of 10 whittled down to 5 but the workload stays the same, the 5 have double the work and the same pay. What often happens is that the 5 have no way of doing the work of 10 so productivity goes down. It's like trying to building muscle eat 1500 kcal/day. It just doens't work.

You must be young and not been in the work force long. We salaried employees often work more than 40 hours for free. Employees have no rights except to leave. Which would be an option if there were jobs.
The minimum wage stuff is a farce, all that does is cause inflation. A higher bottom is still the bottom.


Ahhh, you're a Marine..Semper Fi!
Thank you for your service to our country.


Uh, no, but I would like something that protects people from being shit canned for no reason though.

It's called balance. But lay-offs happen way more frequently than people just walking out of a job. But you are right in that the company would have to be protect from walk-aways.

They have a big enough piece.

Compensation is not the reason companies are in financial trouble. You have to take care of you assests. If you buy a car and just expect it to work without taking care of it, it will work for a while, but not long. Just like cars employees need to be taken care of.

Bullshit. I make the company money, and because I am dedicated I make it more than I would if I just came, did my thing and left. Upper management does not produce shit. If the employees left, the company would close.

Oh, we're better than most. I am speaking in more general terms...I am actually in a good spot.