- McJobs and Workers -

My thoughts on management and grease.

Posted by: Trolley Dolly ( Northern Ireland ) on September 07, 1998 at 11:27:27:

In Reply to: Grease, and some thoughts on management. posted by Flint Jones on September 06, 1998 at 11:02:58:

: What a horror story. Are all your shifts like that, if they were I'd generally fear for your co-workers. :)

No, of course they aren't. And I take it all in my stride, like a true professional. I would never take it out on anyone else. Actually, I find that when tere's a bit of a crisis, everyone pulls together. (I can hear Qx snorting as he reads this, but it's true.) Today we had a fault with out tills. I spent hours trying to rectify it, nothing worked. We knew as it got busier it would get stressful, but everyone knocked their balls in, crew and managers. And we got through it in the end. I was quite pleased to see the extra effort everyone made. And I realised that they didn't do it because they were obliged to, or they have some misplaced loyalty to McD's, it was because all the managers had been trying hard all day to fix the problem, and when we couldn't we were alongside the crew breaking sweat too. I know the boss / employee relationship is a black and white one for the IWW, but there is still teamwork, and there are good relations between us. In fact, the majority of the crew, and managers see the franchisee and the McD's hierarchy as the enemy. Like I said to someone else earlier on this site. managers in McD's are still pretty close to the bottom rung. Yes, I have the power to hire and fire, but I am aware also that I could get fired too. But the franchisee doesn't have that fate hanging over him. In fact, many times we have had discussions where I was arguing for a pay rise for the crew, and he didn't want to know. I have told him that he will never understand what it feels like to be an employee, having never been in that relationship, and he had to admit it was true. That is why I feel more close to being a worker, not an owner. Because I have managed to improve my situation over the years I am now regarded as an instrument of the oppressor.

: Anyway, is it only Hardee's that had this kind of problem with grease?

Yeah, the grease is minging, and it gets everywhere. Disposal is a problem, but thankfully, we have a company who come and take it away, and recycle it into soap or whatever ! Did you have a grease trap in the floor ? We put enzyme stuff down the sink every night to ensure the grease is broken down.

: Generally speaking, I don't hold management in near the regard you do TD. Usually I respect expierence more than position. Sometime they go hand in hand, other times not.

I wouldn't say I hold all managers in high regard. When I was crew, there were some managers I liked, some I hated. The ones I hated never acknowledged me, or knew my name. The ones I liked made the effort, asked how I was, remembered something about me and talked to me. Now you will argue that they were softening the process of being ground up in the machine, but it really didn't feel like that at the time !

Management have three jobs, one is to help coordinate employees and work so that everything get done, another is to be responsible for the actions of others... which usually is transferred back to those same others quickly, and finally to squeeze as much profit as possible for the boss... whether that means working longer hours themselves, cutting back on waste, making things more efficient, or exploiting their subordinates.

I can see your angle Flint, and it is pretty logical when you look at it. But businesses exist to make money, and how else can that be done? Now you are against more than just commerce and business, but the whole way our society operates. McD's, and all the others are a very small part of that. At the end of the day, it all comes down to money, who has the most and how more can be made. And I think you've a long hard slog ahead of you changing the attitudes that pervade every aspect of our existence on this planet.

I know small victories come first, for instance, improving workers rights etc, but it's a drop in the ocean when you consider how corrupted our society is. People like you have more fight in you, and then there are people like me who don't, and take the path of least resistance ! I admire you for what you are doing, and your desire to help others improve their lives, but that's about as far as it goes.

: I think managers would be better at coordinating workers and work, along with reducing waste and making production more efficent if they were accountable to workers instead of the owners. Ofcourse, I want workers and owners to be on in the say and as an anarchist I am really reluctant for anyone to be in a position of power over others if they aren't recallable by those they get to order about. Managers are looking out for their own interests first, the owners interests second (their jobs depend on it!), their customers next, and their fellow workers last.

I wouldn't say it was in that order Flint, but you aren't far off. Of course I look out for myself. Over the years I've conformed to all the society rituals, the mortgage, a family etc. How can I toss this up in the air now ? I'm too entrenched in it all. I'm not saying I enjoy it, but I'm making the best of it. For me, there is no feasible alternative.

: This being said, all managers aren't jerks. Quite a few of them can be quite open to say... organizing a union. Lots of them are great to hang out with as friends. But I think the relationship of Boss to Worker is one that causes alot of stress that doesn't need to be there. The best managers are the ones that treat their subordinates as well as they can, and enable(empower) their fellow workers to do their job; ocassionally imparting their own expierence over the years to greener employees. I know I always respected managers who'd get off their asses and help run the counter or the kitchen during a rush more than the ones who'd sit there and watch us get overwhelmed.

Now Qx would say there is no no man's land between bosses and workers. But to be honest, I think he sees the relationship between the positions only, not the people. I said earlier on that I, and the managers have pretty good rapport with the crew. Every day is not a constant battle of wills. Sometimes there are problems, but there are anywhere you put 20 or 30 human beings together. That's life. If anything, I think we ALL feel exploited. The crew sometimes comment on the amount of hours I do, and they are sympathetic. There's a feeling of all being in it together. (it being something brown and smelly !)

: One thing about the IWW which is pretty similar to most unions is that management aren't allowed to be members. But there are managers and then there are managers. Usually an employees status is set by the company or the labor board (alot of computer programmers are designated as management even though the manager noone). The IWW says its based on whether you have the power to hire and fire.

: But even those who can hire and fire still might want to help. For that (or any non-union members) there is always the General Defense Committee(GDC). The IWW however, allows members of a collective (where hiring and firing is a matter of vote by the membership) to be full union members. What does everyone, particularly the managers on this forum... think about the Wobbly principles on management?

So it's OK to hire and fire, as long as there is no one person making a decision ? That's a bit wishy washy isn't it ? You're allowed in if you don't hold SOLE responsibility for sacking someone. So, if tomorrow, I decided from then on, anytime someone got disciplined, or sacked, I had the whole management team in as a collective on it, would that be OK ? We actually do vote on who passes their probation and who doesn't, just in case one manager has seen only one aspect of that employee. But other dismissals are usually the result of a disciplinary procedure that has been breached in some way. It doesn't really matter who does the deed, as long as all the procedures have been followed. I have never had to sack someone who didn't realise it was going to happen. In fact, I have never had a bad reaction in that situation, and some have even thanked me for what I have done for them in the past ! You see, it's not a personal whim or anything. Like any where, there are rules. If you breach them, there are consequences. Surely the IWW is like that. Society is set up that way. Provided you treat people fairly, it shouldn't be a problem. The problem is bosses who are assholes, and push things too far.

It's back to the philosophy of too much power concentrated in the hands of one person is a bad thing. And yeah, that's probably true for the most part.

Talk to you soon


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