- McJobs and Workers -

It's about time

Posted by: Quincunx ( IWW ) on October 14, 1998 at 19:14:49:

In Reply to: No flames. posted by Trolley Dolly on October 13, 1998 at 00:21:11:

Qx: : Now while you're warming up could you please tell us of the role of rap sessions and what purpose do they serve?

TD: To raise work related issues in a constructive way, with the outcome (hopefully) QUICK results. Follow up usually happens within a few weeks. As with any grievance procedure the first step is alway to raise it with your superior.

: It's like going to a tribunal. No point unless you have exhausted all the avenues available to you in work. Only when you are not satisfied with the result do you take the next step. And if that is approaching a union, that is a matter for the individual - or group of individuals.

Qx: And how does this compare in your personal experience to what Boas and Chain have written in their book. BTW, The "Behind the Arches" book by John F. Love doesn't even mention "rap sessions". Could you have any idea as to why?

: : If you finish up an answer please tell us why McD's doesn't need any unions at all.

: I don't speak for McD's - just myself.

: : That is if you're against unions. If you are for unions then what kind of unions would you like to see in order to represent any workers at McD's.

: Any workers - there's an interesting use of words. Am I included yet ???

Qx: Take it as you will.

: : I am not against unions. But, our experience of them in the UK is that they have no teeth, and are pretty much in the pockets of the big firms, and run by career oriented, power-crazy self publicists. What kind of union ? What about one containing both managers and crew ? Very often, managers are working in similar if not worse circumstances to the crew. Of course there are incidents where that are divisive to the crew/manager relationship, but this is all part of the dynamics of the workplace. As long as they are resolved satisfactorily, and they usually are - at store level, I would say a union would be best placed in working to negotiate between the people who have limited decision making power (i.e. any one working at store level) and those who have more power (those higher up the hierarchy). There is not the "them and us" atmosphere in the stores that you assume there is. It is more them (the market managers / regional VP's) and us (the crew and managers in one store).

Qx: You assume that I see this as only a polarized situation. The real danger with management and workers being together is that many times this was not the intended way of representation originally planned by the workers who do not have the power to fire and hire and who originally voted for union representation. Oftentimes a back room deal is done (which I've witnessed) in which managers are suddenly taking part in the voting for union certification. That's not ethical and is certainly reprehensible.

If management wants a union then they should form one for themselves exclusively. The talk of management unions is flourishing within white-collar circles and I do recall floating the idea somewhere around some time back. I also know of an assistant manager at McD's who believes there should be a management union. She feels that it would put a stop to some of the current work routines that are seen as frivilous by some managers. At least she knows that those who are hired and fired should be separate from the ones who do the firing and hiring. She would rather not do any hiring or firing but leave that to those higher up.

The notion that workers (those who get hired and fired)and bosses (those with the power to fire and hire) have the same interests is a nice notion if one has a hankering for seeing human society in an idealistic and very unrealistic view for holistic purposes. It utterly disregards the fact that we are living in a capitalist system and that the dominant organizational form is that of the corporation.

That doesn't mean that workers want to destroy a company if they feel that way. What it does mean is that the company and the workers simply do not have the same interests even though they do need each other in this current situation called capitalism and that class differences are recognized.

Tha corporation is by it's own nature not responsible to anyone. Even though in theory the "shareholders" are the ones who decide. The fact is that corporate officers more often than not call the shots in the name of the often very numerous and oftentimes too remote shareholders. The fact that corporations have legal personhood is a result of an number of U.S. court decisions that culminated in the landmark Santa Fe Railroad vs. Santa Clara County decision (1886).

The pseudo-conservatives who claim to be conservatives in the USA are blind to these (and other facts) and the "libertaians" are blindest of all it seems at times. Take Mike Bacon's argument that the recent court rulings against the tobacco companies is a violation of First Amendment rights. He seems to not know about the acrimonious struggle in American legal history and the hostility many Americans felt towards corporations from the beginning of colonization and the quest for unlimited charters that was finally realized by big business interests in 1886. So the saying "What are corporations but people?" is hardly enlightening after all.

The fact is that they are "legal persons" and they form the dominant form of governance today. The recent judgements against the tobacco comapnies hardly challenges the form of these "corpses" but that they are as liable as any other company to litigation is now in the current limelight.

Which takes us to McDonald's and the fast food industry. The point being that McDonald's cannot have it's corporate charter revoked due to the fact that as a "legal person" it is also immortal by the grace of business oriented judicial authorities. I would like to see the revokation of McDonald's corporate charter happen. If you can find any judicial argument counter to what I've cited and if it really holds up to close scrutiny then let me know.

TD: Did you say you worked in McD's once ? Please tell all.

Qx: Long story but also in constant 90F to 100F temperatures with lots of Pakistanis and Iranians who feared that their false IDs would be found out and that McD's would rat them out if they organized.

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