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View Diary: Teachers: the new enemy of the states? (174 comments)

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  •  Democracy in the Workplace is a Threat? (3+ / 0-)
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    dkosdan, schnecke21, geez53

    I never could figure out why conservative Americans will fiercely fight to keep and defend a political democracy (freedom?) but with equal fierceness fight to defend and maintain a workplace oligarchy.

    If anyone dared to tell them they didn't have a say in what their town or county or state or national leaders did, they'd be raising hell from the rooftops.

    But suggest that workers have a similar say in their work roles and their workplace--suggest, in other words, that we bring democracy to work-- and all of a sudden you're a dirty f'ing hippie communist.

    Go figure.

    "There is nothing to be learned from history anymore. We're in science fiction now." -Allen Ginsberg

    by NCJan on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 05:56:32 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  It is amazing that they draw that distinction. (0+ / 0-)

      In a way, i can see part of it. Let's say you go to work in a true small business (not the K-Street variety) where your boss is the founder, built up the business from scratch, reinvesting in the business and the employees more than his personal off-shore haven. That engenders a certain loyalty and deference.

      But that case is very exceptional today. More often it's the Wal-Mart business model, which killed the small business (in our area anyway) and the boss is just a Wharton grad who didn't build anything and is just "maximizing shareholder value" while stitching together a golden parachute with the compensation committee. Those employed here need that democracy just to be distinguished from the less animate commodities on the shelves.

      •  It would work for small business too (0+ / 0-)

        The only difference would be in terms of the individual's right to enforce the contract they implicitly made when they were hired--because I would presume that it's easier to enforce your contract if you have a personal relationship with the owner of the business.  

        In a smaller business you wouldn't have to have a big bureacracy, but perhaps some workplace sharing of power and worker protection, with rights provided by government.

        We begin to do this now with workplace safety standards and OSHA. Those too were once considered "interferences" with the boss--and still are, to many Republicans.

        In the public sphere, we have a "representative democracy" or a republic.  I don't see why it wouldn't work in even the smallest business--as it does in the smallest hamlet.  The owner does not or should not have unlimited rights.  Even if he/she started the business, he or she is obligated to represent the interests of the company (and by extension its workers). The business is not his/her personal playground. If he or she does not represent these interests, the workers should have a right to protect their jobs.

        I'm sure that you are right and that most workers in small companies would have loyalty and deference to their owner, as long as their owner was acting in the best interest of the company.

        Nevertheless, there should always be basic, let's say, democratic rights in place, no matter what the size of the company--if workers band together because they think the "boss" has a drinking problem or is overspending, they have a right to be heard and listened to.  If the boss is living high off the hog and wants to cut their salaries and not his/her own, they have a right to be not only heard, but listened to.

        After all, we don't have a democratic vote in every political decision--we have a "representative democracy" or a republic.  The owner, even if he started the company, should represent the interests of the company.  If he or she does not, the workers have a right to protect their jobs and maybe even "fire" him.

        "There is nothing to be learned from history anymore. We're in science fiction now." -Allen Ginsberg

        by NCJan on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:11:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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