Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Brief History of US Labo[u]r: 1980-2008

Short and sickening:

This "selling out" of future employees was an extremely tough call for the unions, a trade-off they agonized over. To their credit, many locals refused to go along, even though they were under enormous pressure to do so. For those who did agree, as soon as management had that two-tier wage provision under their belt (and despite assurances that it wouldn't happen), they began cutting into the very medical and pension benefits the union had sold its soul to preserve. It was ugly.

For the record, this is not what I mean by Democracy in the Workplace.

But in many cases these ad hoc committees were free-for-alls, with management offering rewards to the weakest, most pliant workers on the floor as payment for supporting company initiatives. This was "democracy" in its least attractive form. Ironically, when it came time for some really serious decision-making to be done, even these company stooges were brushed aside, particularly when their suggestions conflicted with management's master plan.

I mean real, genuine democracy, brought about by a transfer of power.

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