SQUEEZING MORE FROM LESS

Inhuman treat is the hallmark of China where workers are seen as expendable ants, locked up in the factories, and caged in substandard concrete containment vessels called living quarters. Some of them have rebelled and a few have jumped off buildings in protest. Probably there have been a lot more “incidents,” but we all know the notorious Chinese government’s cover-ups. In China where there are millions of ants waiting for your job, they get away with long hours, seven days a week. After all, ants are expendable. Soon this will be all too common in Corporate America. And this is spreading to Europe.

Using fear to control, squeezing “more-from-less,” extracting the last drop of lifeblood out of the workforce without consideration for the individual, the owners/stockholders, the wealthy one percent charge forward with their carefully laid-out plans to hoard more wealth and power at everyone else’s expense. They have been quite successful with this strategy. They have successfully personified labor unions as counterproductive evils (and some were), and cut jobs purposely to create fear. They’ve supported legislation to ship these jobs overseas, all the while finding one enemy or the other to distract our attention. This has increased their power and control over government, the workforce, and the population as a whole. Out of their conscienceless actions they intend to hoard more wealth, increase the bottom-lines, and exercise power to control over every aspect of life they can.

Henry Ford’s model is being followed. He did create an efficient industrial schema, and he also was a monster. He had his private police force (The Pinkertons) invade employee’s homes, watch them to make sure they acted in their private lives the way he determined was proper.  If you didn’t like this invasion of privacy, you’re fired! In Dodge v. Ford, a 1919 decision from the Michigan Supreme Court that court opined that a “business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders.” While not all courts agree, there is certainly a thought by many Board of Directors, that the financial bottom-line is the bottom-line. Damn the collateral damage! However, the Nazis didn’t feed their slave laborers and just replaced the dead bodies with live ones. You did know that Henry Ford was a blatant supporter of Hitler, and Hitler admired him?

One of the tools they’ve corrupted is the “independent contractor” (IC) agreement. Corporate attorneys, have used this status to circumvent our hard-earned fair labor laws. All that is missing now is the company housing and stores of the old coal miner days. You could never get ahead, and if you were injured, you and your family starved. And they had their own private police, now called security guards to enforce the slavery. Those policies generated the unions in response. Perhaps it is time to reconsider these institutions again, only keeping out the organized criminal elements.  The attorneys have connived their way into government and the courts, along with coercing a fearful populous to accept laws designed to enslave them. This permits those classified as IC’s to be viewed as unprotected by statue.

Comparing the treatment of slaves, to the treatment of the workers in China, to U.S. independent contractors, whose conditions have and are deteriorating rapidly, we see a patterns of fear-based power and control technics being employed, along with subsequent abuses. The logic of mistreating one’s assistants, workers, or slaves, whatever you wish to call them is illogical because the loss of production from the death, sickness, stress or resentment far exceeds the gains of squeezing out their last drop of energy/work units.  The cost to treat them well is small in comparison to the quality of their work gained and retained. Well-treated cared for slaves produce far better in the long-term, will care for your clients better. It is simply smart business.

The typical iterations of the more-from-less policies are:

  1. IC’s being used to fill new new “positions.” The IC’s agree to long term deployments, but sign “at-will” day-to-day contracts. The companies have no responsibility to these temporary workers. They don’t have vacations, sick days, INSURANCE or any other benefits. The companies can release them at-will, since they are ‘leased’ employees. Yet, even a leased car can’t be returned until the lease is up. Not so with a lease employee. The workers are told if they leave they can never come back. Hardly a mutual at-will contract. They are told what their hours are, when and how to work. This is clearly an employee relationship, not an independent one per our Court’s definitions. Yet, it goes on in all industries and is getting worse.
  2. Theft-of-services – Management tells the workforce to be in their seats 15-minutes early everyday, so that at their assigned start time the antiquated overburdened computers would be up and running. Of course payment is not being made for the time period, amounting to a theft of services.
  3. Workforce Management Programs – This computer enslavement tool were designed to have the workforce shift to needed tasks. Yes, this seems like a good idea for a large company with changing demands, but what it has developed into is nothing short of Machiavellian. The employee is told when to take their breaks, lunch, and has you log “unscheduled” breaks (“quick” bathroom breaks).

 

Companies want their employees to give remarkable service to their customers. Oblivious to the realization that the first person to be remarkable toward absolutely has to be the employee! This is where management is lacking, just like in parenting. It takes work to love, guide, encourage, discipline those one is directing. Many parents fail as they are overworked, stressed, or just plain don’t know how to communicate these principles. Companies are no different, except they can hire in consultants that understand. A company’s number one assets are its employees. Treat them as gold, honor them, take care of them, and make them feel important and an honored members of the company. Be grateful for their services and they will show their gratitude by taking care of the company.

Capitalistic bottom-line thinking must be legislated to include long-term integrity of the company, and its employees, not just short-term profits. Yet short-term profits are exactly what stockholder demand and law backs that up. Let them run on their own devices is exactly what the Fed under Greenspan did along with the removal of Glass Steagall controls. The wealthy, who got wealthier, say it’s a myth.

Youthful management – Armed with knowledge, lacking human relations experience and the wisdom gained from its experience, they jump in the saddle, push buttons, aim their video game inspired joysticks and are destroying the very thing they are inheriting. But the numbers are good, aren’t they? For now maybe. Meanwhile, the older, more experienced, higher paid, and wiser employees who have devoted themselves to the company are in the crosshairs. “See,” thinks the younger management, “I am cutting costs.” They don’t have the wisdom and understanding to see the human cost, which is the company’s greatest asset, and its subsequent collateral damage to the company itself. They don’t teach this at the prestigious schools of economics. What is taught is in a crises, slash and burn.

The present CREATED economic situation is designed to not only rein-in and control the workforce, get “more-from-less, and pay less, it is designed to destroy the middle and mid-upper pay scale workers, the baby boomers, who have worked hard, gained wisdom through experience. Now, there are thousands of technically savvy wisdomless young ants waiting for those same jobs for less. And Rome falls – again.

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