- McJobs and Workers -

Knock it off, QX.

Posted by: Flint Jones ( IWW, USA ) on September 01, 1998 at 01:24:06:

In Reply to: Droll Troll attempts to be genuine posted by Quincunx on August 29, 1998 at 15:21:25:

You know, lots of people like their jobs. Particularly when they compare them to other jobs they have. The goal with work is usually to make it the most tolerable as possible because its not a feasible thing to get rid. People generally like working with their co-workers, and even managers *gasp* Did I just say that? Bosses are still human beings. There is not a sudden change in people's personality when they become a crew trainer. Friendships develop inspite of capitalist exploitation. Its the exploitive nature of work that I want to get rid of.

So hammering on about anything that doesn't sound like boss-hate/class-war isn't going to get you very far. Calling anyone who happens to like their job a corporate tool isn't going to win you any support. However, even people who like their job as it is would probably like it better if they had better pay, better benefits, more input into the decision making process (and for most jobs you don't have any). Collectives, co-operatives, unionized shops are better than the ones that aren't from most worker's view points. Small local businesses are generally more responsive to workers than sprawling mega-corporations. The economy is global, however... and your dealing with economies of scale which is why folks like Wallmart can price mom&pop operations out of business, while treating their employees like dirt. Consumers, no matter how socially responsible we want them to be, are going to vote by their wallet alot of the time and not with their ethics. Because their working folk who aren't being paid what they should anyway... cause the profit mongers keep getting more and more of the larger pie.

The world isn't as white and black as we would like it to be. The local shift supervisor is a world apart from the McDonald's board of directors. I remember working at Hardee's and how the managers were salary, but corporate kept them working so much that I was acutally being paid more by the hour (minimum wage). The rub is how management has to treat their workers to keep those profits up for _their_ bosses.

They are reward in portion to how successful (meaning profitable) they can make the business. Once you've gotten to a certain level of efficency, there really isn't that much they can do besides cheating on health standards, food portions and keeping worker's from getting anything more. For instance, its better to hire 4 part time workers who work 10 hours a week than 1 full time worker for 40 hours. The same reason its better to give out overtime irregularly, instead of hiring more full time workers.

Try to atleast listen to what they are saying instead of easily placing them into the category of a scissor-bill, company stool, or Mr. Block. For instance, TD doesn't like working so many hours. Well, why does TD have to work so much? He obviously doesn't want to but he feels he has to. Does he have no control at all over his scheduling? Can he not afford to work so much (because they pay him so little)? Do they just need to hire more people? What are the reasons TD has to work so much... the fact that he generally enjoys his work environment does not change the idea that he would be happier spending more time on what interests him, and less time working at McDonald's. The reduction of working hours (yet with increase in benefits) has long been an IWW plank in the battle to abolish capitalism.

McDworker is another good example... it sounds like he's working in a great store. The are flexible with his scheduling, he likes the people he works with (there are 80 of them!) the have good standards for safety and customer satisfaction. The management is responsive to their needs. They have incentives, treat days, movie nights... their using the carrot instead of the stick. Well, workers like carrots! McDworker isn't even anti-union. He's got no problem with workers having one, as long as they want it! He recommends blowing the whistle if there is ever a problem to government agencies and health board, which is something the IWW reccommends as well! Infact he mentions that if there were more problems where he worked he'd even be posting negative messages on the board. The way to approach him would not be to call him a mindless servant of the corporation but rather... "What would make McDonald's a better place to work?" He might mention that health insurance (If he were in the US, instead of say Canada). He might like to see a bit more profit going into his check instead of up the franchise chain of command.

You might have also pointed out to McDworker about how there are unions and then their are unions. For instance, he mentions the business aspect of a union and how all their after is your money. This is true for the vast majority of what we call "business" unions... like many of those in the AFL-CIO. The IWW, by comparisson has very low dues and only one full-time paid worker. For example, most Mcdonald's employees who joined the IWW would pay about $5/month... less if they are getting very little in the way of hours, about $3/month. Further, the IWW waives dues entirely for workers in extremely bad circumstances (reoccurring unemployment, or those involved in prison labor). McDworker also mentions that some of his friends have expierence with unions that are responsive, that they ignore their members opinions, and that they don't know where their dues go. For many AFL-CIO unions, this is completely true! Infact, I even suggested to one worker that he might be better off deceritfying his current international union, and just being an indepdent local. The IWW, conversely is a directly democratic organization all of whose officers can be instantly recalled. Further, dues are paid by each member directly to the union delegate and not as a deduction to the pay check... making the IWW more responsible to the rank&file. Further, every month the General Organization Bulletin is published and distributed to union members breaking down in agonizing detail how every red cent is spent! Local branches (which keep half of its collected dues) also have completely open books.

To Bryan, you might want to mention that the Democrat and Republican parties don't really have substantially different treatment to large businesses. Clinton and Bush support NAFTA. Clinton and many democrats are working hard on getting the MAI (investor's rights! over worker's and enviromental laws of localities). Clinton wanted fast trak authority. That under democratic controlled congress we've seen much of the protective labor legislation rolled back, along with the Welfare state in general (Workfare). Politicans interests are seperate from those of they are supposed to represent. Thats why the IWW believes in winning our demands on the shop floor through direct action on the job instead of dumping massive amount of money into the hands of
political leaders who will betray them for bigger money.

QX, use more honey and less vinegar.



P.S. This should prove to those wondering that the IWW hardly has a "party line", individual members have a wide variety of opinions and we try and work them out as best we can... struggling for consuses and failing with democracy. ;)

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