The Bitter Consequences of Corporate America’s War on Unions

(COMMON DREAMS) Jake Johnson, May 18, 2016 — Last week, Oxfam America published a report in which it was revealed that, across the United States, workers at giant poultry factories are being denied basic human dignity in the name of productivity and corporate gain.

Among other abuses, Oxfam found that some workers have been “reduced to wearing diapers while working on the processing line” after their requests to take bathroom breaks were repeatedly denied.

American poultry workers, furthermore, “incur injuries at five times the national average” without compensation that justifies such risk; workers subsist, as a result, in a state of perpetual anxiety, resentful of their situation but powerless to do anything about it.

In a climate of intense insecurity, cultivated by both the hostile corporate setting and the wider economic context of the United States in the 21st century, workers hesitate to speak out against their employers for fear of losing their jobs. “Lives depend on these wages,” the report notes. “Usually, there are few other options in the area, and these options likely pay lower wages.”

Outrage sparked by horrendous working conditions is thus overshadowed by intense shame and, ultimately, resignation. “Workers clearly get the message that they if they want to keep their job, they need to endure what happens inside the plant — or, in the words of many, ‘allí está la puerta’ (‘there’s the door’).”

This sense of helplessness is felt across many industries and is largely the result of a ruthless, decades-long effort by highly class-conscious elites to dismantle unions and undercut potential threats to the accumulation of profit.

Source: The Bitter Consequences of Corporate America’s War on Unions | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community