- McJobs and Workers -

Voting with Your Feet is an International Language

Posted by: Quincunx ( IWW ) on July 14, 1998 at 09:36:08:

In Reply to: Walking off the job doesn't help anyone's cause. posted by Mike Bacon on July 13, 1998 at 10:09:37:

MB: Hi, Qx! How's the summer going up there in Canada? It's a hot one down here!

Qx: Yeah, it's been pretty cool here but the TV sure shows some scraily hot scenes out of Texas. I bet they can't wait for September to roll around in DFW.

MB: Well, a worker's association (or union, if that's the preferred name) wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for this "walk off the job" business.

Qx: It's not a preferable option but in the Macedonia case with the 66 year old woman being treated so badly I think some sort of action was bound to happen.

MB: And no, I don't advocate managers being abusive bastards. But see, this crew walking out the way it did only got the pink slip for all of 'em. And those GM employees up in Flint walking out caused widespread problems nationwide, and impacted the plants up in Canada (where the Camaro and Firebird are built, as well as many trucks) as well. Over in Arlington, TX, we've got people out of work at that plant for lack of parts, not by choice of those employees. And GM customers have to wait God knows how long for a new model or worse to get their car or truck fixed (unless there's a salvaged part from the wrecking yards.).

Qx: Those are the risks involved when workers take action and I'm pretty sure that GM would be saving a lot of money if they hadn't decided to renege on their promises to the UAW. I don't think the UAW is a totally great union. For example, look at all the Michiganders liviung in Texas now. They migrated down after the collapse of the auto-industry in the late Seventies and early Eighties and even though a lot have moved back to Michigan there's still loads living in Houston, Dallas and elsewheres in Texas. Many of their memories towards unions are bitter because of the actions of the piecards in the UAW heirarchy.

It's a very subjective viewpoint many of them hold but nonetheless the bad quality of parts and whatnot can't be held up as an example of union labor because if the UAW hadn't come around in the first place we can all be pretty sure that vehicles would be much more dangerous than they used to be. If folks want to see better quality parts and vehicles then allowing GM and other corporations to move to Mexico is not the answer.

MB: What the crew at that McDonald's should have done, was after the "rap sessions" failed, IMMEDIATELY started applying at the other fast food places, mall stores, or the area supermarkets, maybe even the retail shops like Wal-Mart or Kmart. It shouldn't be hard to find employment at this time. Businesses are falling over each other to hire ANYONE who will even SHOW UP! As for the owner of that McDonald's, he should be getting his head out of his ass pretty soon, unless he's really a doofus. With the word gotten out about his place, and the seller's job market, I can't imagine he's going to have an easy time filling those involuntarily vacated positions. I know if I found myself unfairly between jobs, priority-1 would be getting my cashflow going again, so maybe I won't have to be filling out the debtor's insurance claims on my truck loan and other debts, and no insurance is gonna pay my rent! Getting a paycheck again will definitely take precedence over any craving I may have for "revenge", "justice", or "vindication".

Qx: I don't think Macedonia, Ohio is all that much of an economic hotbed like Texas is at the moment but nonetheless there is a principle involved called solidarity. An injury to one is an injury to all and if McD's management can't be challenged by their workers then everybody else might as well just grovel. I'm not for that. Justice can't be quantified in dollar figures, revenge is emptiness and vindication is the result of struggle. In this case, a struggle for dignity in the workplace can be manifested by voting with ones feet. In Macedonia that is exactly what has happened and it will likely happen elsewheres.

MB: Furthermore, not all managers and supervisors are bastards. This is illustrated in the positive postings from the other employees of McDonald's.

Qx: Sometimes I wonder if the positive postings aren't due to uncritical viewings of the dynamics of the fast food industry.

MB: For every Jamal and Bryan, there's a Joey (the Australian poster) and Cara. Given a better climate, and more professional manager, I'm sure the Trolley Dollies would have a much better time on the job. Real troopers, those two ladies.

Qx: For a better climate and more professional management struggles are sometimes necessary. The fastfood industry is a case in point.

MB: To close, it's never gonna be a perfect world. The best advice I can give is try to sort it out with the powers that be, and if it remains a shitter, put that resume together and take a look down the road. I myself only recall 2 supervisors I had any real problems with in the past.

Qx: I think you're only giving one option much credence when the fact that people deserve respect wherever they may work entails the the need for social responsibility on the part of corporations (which isn't likely unless it's fought for.) Sad but true and life rolls on at the company store.


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