Thursday, February 10, 2005

Employer or Feudal Lord?

My grandfather used to say that before Independence, there used to be big zamindars in his village who used to dictate even the personal lives of people who used to work in his farm. You can't do anything without the 'blessings' or 'approval' of the landlord.

I frequently read newspaper articles from USA about how personal liberty is so valued there that any form of collectivism is frowned upon. The 'land of the free', they say! Apparently not, according to this New York Times article.

If I have to believe all the articles I read, Fort Capitalism gives a rat's arse about workers. After all, forming unions and worker's rights and personal rights goes against everything the great country stands for - corporate profits. You can say it all started with Henry Ford and his commitment to money and union-busting at his Dearborn factory.

Now, it has come to prohibiting smoking even outside of work, in your personal time. Howard Weyers, 'the soft-spoken, silver-haired president of Weyco', hereby referred to as the dope, says 'it is for the good of the employees' and smoking in your privacy is not a worker's right. What next? No pizza at home because it uses cheese? No wearing moustaches/beards or turbans because it leads to lice? No religion other than Christianity because only it has morality as specified in the ten commandments? Apparently, employment is not a right either, nor is health insurance.
It's not about what people do at home. It's about the acceptance of personal responsibility by people we choose to employ.

"You work for me, this is what I expect. You don't like it? Go someplace
else," Mr. Weyers explained in an interview.
An extension of this was seen during the USA Elections (2004) when one lady was fired because she had a Democratic bumper sticker and the employer did not like it. Going ahead with anti-union stand, Walmart would rather close a store in Canada than capitulate to the commies with a employees' union.
After 14 years at Weyco, Anita Epolito decided she would go someplace else
rather than be forced to give up smoking.
We have seen for over the last century that whatever is done in the 'God's own country' is forced upon the rest of the world - 'American Culture' (popular culture, food habits), work culture, work timings, esp. due to outsourcing, standards, food habits (Maharaja Mac, what the hell is that?), technology (RFID and walmart), name it you got it, 'democracy' (Vietnam, Iraq - accept it or we will be bombed back to stone age). The time won't be far when the honchos in India ape whatever the big bossman in the company headquarters in USA says what employees can/cannot do.


Anonymous said...

It still amazes me how some people refuse to believe that the government isn't infringing on our rights. It's happening every day!

Adaengappa !! said...

This is how the STANDARDS are maintained that US is called as FIRSTWORLD DEVELOPED COUNTRY...
Btw, u know about my 'TICKET' incident right??

Adaengappa !! said...
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Adaengappa !! said...
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Vasanth said...

Manoj - the other day I was watching Con Rice giving a press conference on her visit to Europe. The way she talked about the freedom in the US and the lack of it in the Middle East was really disgusting. Instead of blowing the own trumpet, I think they should try to put their own house in order before talking about others.

Xena said...

I happened to watch that too. She was talking as if she is an angel, talking about hell and ways of improving it *giggle*

Christien Lomax (TheCatWhisperer) said...

Re: the smoking bit.. one might be amused to know that the office is part of the healthcare industry. I think it makes perfect sense to require employees t be as healthy as possible, they DO represent the business afterall.