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A Sin and a Shame
NY Slimes ^ | 7/30/2010 | Bob Hebert

Posted on 08/01/2010 10:23:28 AM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom

The treatment of workers by American corporations has been worse — far more treacherous — than most of the population realizes. There was no need for so many men and women to be forced out of their jobs in the downturn known as the great recession.

Many of those workers were cashiered for no reason other than outright greed by corporate managers. And that cruel, irresponsible, shortsighted policy has resulted in widespread human suffering and is doing great harm to the economy.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Andrew Sum, an economics professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “Not only did they throw all these people off the payrolls, they also cut back on the hours of the people who stayed on the job.”

As Professor Sum studied the data coming in from the recession, he realized that the carnage that occurred in the workplace was out of proportion to the economic hit that corporations were taking. While no one questions the severity of the downturn — the worst of the entire post-World War II period — the economic data show that workers to a great extent were shamefully exploited.

The recession officially started in December 2007. From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2009, real aggregate output in the U.S., as measured by the gross domestic product, fell by about 2.5 percent. But employers cut their payrolls by 6 percent.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: jobs; recession; wages
From where I sit it's hard to disagree with the basic premise that businesses are using this recession to take advantage of the work force. I understand the fear of the future, worries about Obamacare, etc., but my company has so much work we're on mandatory overtime and have been for most of the year. In spite of that we got no raise the last 2 years and a raise that doesn't even come close to matching the inflation rate this year. The people are so scared they take anything, thankful to just have a job. Any help we get to handle the massive load are low-paid temps. Bottom line is we sacrificed to keep things going when times were bad and now that times are better we keep all of the losses and get none of the gains.
1 posted on 08/01/2010 10:23:30 AM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

The treatment of workers by American corporations has been worse — far more treacherous ...

*****

Nothing compared to what Bambi is doing to the world.


2 posted on 08/01/2010 10:26:37 AM PDT by ROTB (Without a Christian revival, we are government slaves, or nuked by China/Russia during armed revolt.)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Good to hear things are better. I’d like to get some of those things.


3 posted on 08/01/2010 10:26:44 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (He is the son of soulless slavers, not the son of soulful slaves.)
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To: Willie Green; Liz; AuntB

Ping


4 posted on 08/01/2010 10:28:31 AM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Obama's more worried about Israelis building houses than he is about Islamists building atomic bombs)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Andrew Sum, an economics professor

*****************

What a riot! Instead of asking someone who RUNS a corporation and discovering the tremendous uncertainty created by Obambi, they’re asking an ivory tower academic who may well have never had a real job in the private sector in his life.


5 posted on 08/01/2010 10:28:44 AM PDT by ROTB (Without a Christian revival, we are government slaves, or nuked by China/Russia during armed revolt.)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
The treatment of workers by American corporations has been worse — far more treacherous — than most of the population realizes.

Wonder how much this a$$clown owner of a failing newspaper pulled down last year.

6 posted on 08/01/2010 10:29:17 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: ROTB

Exactly!


7 posted on 08/01/2010 10:34:11 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
From where I sit it's hard to disagree with the basic premise that businesses are using this recession to take advantage of the work force.

Where do you sit, communist Berkeley?

When jobs can be cut, they should be cut. Efficiency is what keeps corporations alive, not pandering to employees.

8 posted on 08/01/2010 10:34:59 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Satan's greatest trick use to be convincing men he doesn't exist! But his latest novelty is Obama!)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Companies bear their primary responsibility to their shareholders; their secondary responsibility to their customers and a distant tertiary responsibility to their employees. Companies do not exist as employment wells for the good of the community.


9 posted on 08/01/2010 10:36:43 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
Move to Cuba.

10 posted on 08/01/2010 10:37:36 AM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: I see my hands

When I see some of the dumbassed comments by fellow Freepers it’s all I can do to keep focused on the big picture, which is get Conservatives elected so hopefully things will get back on track and our children will have a better future.


11 posted on 08/01/2010 10:46:49 AM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: muir_redwoods

And to add to your points, healthy, efficient companies (in which extraneous jobs and operations have been pruned) are in much better shape to provide new, meaningful jobs and be good corporate citizens for their communities than those companies who behave according to communist/socialist/union rules.


12 posted on 08/01/2010 10:51:47 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Satan's greatest trick use to be convincing men he doesn't exist! But his latest novelty is Obama!)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Where do these people come from? Corporations exist to earn a profit for the owners (investors). They are not welfare institutions. When demand for products is down, it follows that the need for workers to produce is down, and the income needed to pay the workers is also down. Consequently, a corporation has two choices, continue paying unproductive workers even if through no fault of the worker, or continue to pay under producing workers until the corporation goes bankrupt. Assuming the corporation has funds available, they have the choice of drawing down those funds to pay unneeded workers, or retaining the funds for future capital investment when the economy improves. To draw down cash reserves for benevolent payment of salaries is ultimately self destructive for the corporation. By way of a disclaimer, we had to let go half of our workers, the last thing we wanted to do, but absent spending for capital investment by business, and a reduced demand for support services, we had no other choice. For the time being we are not betting on the future given the current political environment.


13 posted on 08/01/2010 10:51:50 AM PDT by RLM
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Hey Slimes, look around - - - it’s happening to you too.

However, at least those other workers have skills and can be rehired as soon as we have the revolution and send both you and our democrat “leaders” to the guillotine.


14 posted on 08/01/2010 10:58:38 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Obviously you need to start your own business so that you too can start exploiting workers. Let us know how it goes, and whether you were able to keep your house.


15 posted on 08/01/2010 11:02:12 AM PDT by Nick Danger (Pin the fail on the donkey)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
“Bottom line is we sacrificed to keep things going when times were bad and now that times are better we keep all of the losses and get none of the gains.”

The bottom line is that you don't own the company, and aren't entitled to any of the gains. Nobody owes you a living. You didn't sacrifice a damned thing. You may have worked for less pay, worked less hours, and had fewer benefits, but you presumably were paid for your work.

Sorry about your luck, but hey, my hours were cut too, I haven't had a raise in two years, and I proudly keep on keeping on because I've watched 40 percent of my customers lose their businesses and others are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Tell us again about how it's not fair now that things are better. For who?

It's not my companies fault that the economy died and that manufacturing is closing it's doors left and right. Talk to Mr. Obama, Harry Reid and Mz Pelosi about that one.

16 posted on 08/01/2010 11:02:47 AM PDT by bitterohiogunclinger (Proudly casting a heavy carbon footprint as I clean my guns ---)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
Bob Herbert writing on corporate treatment of workers? Oh man, a no talent, equal opportunity, affirmative action hack with no discernible talent who has never had an original thought in his life is lamenting the treatment of the people by the evil corporations...only in the Times.
17 posted on 08/01/2010 11:10:52 AM PDT by JrsyJack (a healthy dose of buckshot will probably get you the last word in any argument.)
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To: RLM

The relocation of our manufacturing jobs is a horrible mess. You may or may not agree but that is OK.

Didn’t Ford believe that their workers should be able to afford the products they were producing and in turn give them a decent wage?

Our company seen huge layoffs and we are also sending lots of work to Mexico. That may or may not concern you unless you fly in a corporate jet sometime in your life. The culture of Mexico does not lend itself well to quality or teamwork.

Currently my employer is not using me in my best talents. I am a problem solver and now I am stuck behind a desk while they have quality issues that I could solve.


18 posted on 08/01/2010 11:11:11 AM PDT by pennyfarmer (Even a RINO will chew its foot off when caught in a trap.)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Seven fat years...Seven lean years...

Seems the only thing we’ve learned from that incident is to vote for politicians who’ll raid those who were thrifty and smart, and redistribute their stuff to us fools who weren’t.


19 posted on 08/01/2010 11:12:29 AM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: muir_redwoods

“Companies do not exist as employment wells for the good of the community.”

Exactly. My company did a 10% workforce reduction in 2008. Why - because they were greedy? No - there simply wasn’t enough work to justify the headcount.

I guess in the mind of the socialist, it would have been better if we maintained the headcount and “spread out the work”.

The question that the left never seems to have a decent answer for is “how long should an individual - or a corporation - continue to produce at a loss?”. Well, I guess they do have an answer; typically it is “you’ll figure it out - you always do...” (ala A.S.)

It’s a pretty basic concept; sometimes to save the whole you have to cut out an “infection”. The alternative is to risk the loss of “the whole”. And while no operation is without pain, in the end, health is improved.

Of course this is the entire problem with the left: avoiding pain - the pain of bad life choices. What they seem to forget is that pain is a powerful motivator. Children learn from the pain of discipline. As adults we should learn from the pain of privation as the consequences of poor decisions.

Without pain we become spoiled, lazy, expectant. Which I guess is why the left eschews pain - at least real pain. They give their constituency “just enough” to avoid real pain and then they package it in fear - the fear that there are those who will take this away from you - those evil conservatives...they don’t care about you like we do...

Of course we know that “care” sometimes involves that application of pain - to wit:

Hebrews 12:
...for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and disciplines every child whom he accepts...but he disciplines us for our good...now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.


20 posted on 08/01/2010 11:19:25 AM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: muir_redwoods
Companies bear their primary responsibility to their shareholders; their secondary responsibility to their customers and a distant tertiary responsibility to their employees. Companies do not exist as employment wells for the good of the community.

I agree with your basic premise. However, my employer (a household name undergoing a difficult transition) has cut workers to the bone but not managers. The manager/worker bee ratio is at record highs. I am not convinced that this has well served the shareholders. I think the great sage, Yogi Berra, summed it up well:

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

21 posted on 08/01/2010 12:00:28 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: Nick Danger; Oshkalaboomboom
Amen Nick,
A few times in the past, I've let someone who demagogues business look at the spreadsheets for a few houses we rent out. Granted I don't have any employees, but it's usually a rude shock for them to see how difficult it is to balance cost and revenue.
22 posted on 08/01/2010 12:08:17 PM PDT by Red Dog #1
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
The treatment of workers by American corporations has been worse — far more treacherous — than most of the population realizes. ... Many of those workers were cashiered for no reason other than outright greed by corporate managers.

Why those evil bast**ds!
How DARE they think of PROFIT and watching out for their shareholder's investments.

The filthy capitalist PIGS!

Down with the Bourgeoisie.
Up with the Proletariat.
Workers of the world, Unite!

23 posted on 08/01/2010 12:21:21 PM PDT by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: jonno
Without pain we become spoiled, lazy, expectant.

I also agree with your basic premise. I think the distance runner, Roger Bannister, summarized it nicely:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle--when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I work in a large corporation that has had several downsizings. I have survived them by running hard. At least where I work, it looks like those of us who spend most of our days working on project work are running a lot harder and longer than those who spend their time going from meeting to meeting. Quite frankly, we are reaching the point of exhaustion. There certainly seems to be a high ratio of bureaucrats to worker bees. Guess who makes the rules... Guess who pays the price when things go poorly.

Just out of curiosity, I would interested to know how many downsizings you've lived through. I don't intend this as a put down but would be interested whether you have lived through what you are suggesting. The writer to the Hebrews does point out that no discipline is pleasant...

24 posted on 08/01/2010 12:22:28 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: Condor51
The filthy capitalist PIGS!

I realize you are being extreme but you still manage to show with your sarcasm how countries end up drifting towards socialism. Given the choie of living off of the scraps of a benevolent employer who provides the job you should be so thankful for or the benevolent government, the government by virtue of its size and ability to print money can usually offer a better deal.

Of course in the long run, as proven by examples in Russia and China, the government runs out of money and millions starve to death. That's basically a wash since it's already been stated that the company owes you nothing so you would starve in either case.

25 posted on 08/01/2010 1:04:10 PM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
That's basically a wash since it's already been stated that the company owes you nothing so you would starve in either case.

I know you mean well, but please understand that a company--an economy--is like a machine.

In fact, you are a company. You have machines (your muscles and your brain), you have management (your ability to reason). Instead of employees, you may have subcontractors (other service providers to whom you turn for things you can't produce). Instead of customers you have an employer or general contractor or clients to whom you provide a service.

Do you owe me anything? Not if we have not entered into contract for services provided.

Your customers do not owe you anything. They have needs and you compete to meet them.

You do not owe your subcontractors anything (except for services/products provided). But you have needs and are willing to pay them for their services.

When an economy contracts, needs dry up and so does your interaction with others.

Whether we like it or not, life is like a jungle (there are no guarantees). We struggle to stay alive.

If you cannot accept that, maybe you don't like life and would be happier in a zoo.

Cuba has such a zoo and Venezuela. China and Russia used to have such zoos, but they found that the zoo concept doesn't work.

This issue of life being a jungle and having no guarantees is where socialists and communists try to sell their lies (I say "lie" because they cannot change reality...they can only offer empty promises to those so desperate to escape the uncertainties of life they are willing to accept those lies as truth).

26 posted on 08/01/2010 2:33:58 PM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Satan's greatest trick use to be convincing men he doesn't exist! But his latest novelty is Obama!)
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To: RochesterFan

Then the primary respondant, the shareholders will sell their stock driving down the value of the enterprise and forcing management to discover how best the maximize shareholder value. This may force them to re-think their decisions. Perhaps not but they cannot prosper with a “Workers First” philosophy. It must be “Owners First”; harsh perhaps but inescapable.


27 posted on 08/01/2010 3:10:59 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: RochesterFan
However, my employer (a household name undergoing a difficult transition) has cut workers to the bone but not managers. The manager/worker bee ratio is at record highs. I am not convinced that this has well served the shareholders.

As a retired investment banker, I had the usual clients who were turnaround specialists. My livelihood depended on picking those who were successful. Ergo, I have a "one step removed" model of turnarounds.

Here is a small piece of that model.

The worker bees get cut in direct proportion to operations and production. If the demand for a product declines, production of that product is reduced and that mean workers.

Managers get cut according to their ability to understand the business model and how it must be re-designed to succeed.

Most managers cannot make the transition...and they get the axe but based on a different model.

Managers and workers both take a risk on the future, but it is a different risk.

If you don't like being a worker...become a manager.

Or even better...start your own business. Don't dismiss the idea until you have studied it. It is something everyone can do. Everyone!

28 posted on 08/01/2010 4:27:55 PM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Satan's greatest trick use to be convincing men he doesn't exist! But his latest novelty is Obama!)
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To: muir_redwoods

Yes.


29 posted on 08/01/2010 4:49:35 PM PDT by fightinJAG (Obama: "I will gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today.")
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To: SonOfDarkSkies
Or even better...start your own business. Don't dismiss the idea until you have studied it. It is something everyone can do. Everyone!

Thanks for the insight and good counsel. I have been considering this.

30 posted on 08/01/2010 6:31:56 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: SonOfDarkSkies
If you cannot accept that, maybe you don't like life and would be happier in a zoo.

If you think I am a complainer perhaps you should read (or reread) Read's I, Pencil and rethink your position as to how the company owes the workers who helped it survive the bad times nothing when the good times return. I'm sure in your long career you've seen the results of a workforce that is obedient but resentful.

31 posted on 08/01/2010 6:43:47 PM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
I'm sure in your long career you've seen the results of a workforce that is obedient but resentful.

You speak of "the company" as if it were a family business. If your family (somehow) gave you the boot after decades of mutual toil, I can see cause for resentment.

Why however would you feel resentment towards a "company"? What would be the cause? You work and receive compensation for that work. If you were employed a long time, there should be gratitude that there was employment to be had for so long.

As others have said, there are no guarantees. In the end your work should reflect your work ethic; you work well because a job worth doing is worth doing well. You work for your self-satisfaction, for income. You don't work so that you feel love and security from "the company".

32 posted on 08/01/2010 8:04:37 PM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: jonno

Just an honest question..

How much of your workforce was outsourced to Mexico??

I understood the layoffs, but the sudden outsourcing to Mexico has me worried. I am not totally against that move but I have my doubts. You should too if you plan to ever fly in a corporate jet, or if you have any family members in the US military that might depend on a missile reaching its target.


33 posted on 08/01/2010 10:25:29 PM PDT by pennyfarmer (Even a RINO will chew its foot off when caught in a trap.)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
I do understand how workers can be resentful, but a big part of that resentment is due to the fact that you have no control over your destiny. Your resentment must lead to a deeper understanding and then to action or it is wasted.

And expecting a company to have feelings is like expecting your automobile to be appreciative because you have taken good care of it.

A company is a ultimately a machine--nothing more, nothing less.

The best alternative to putting your life in the hands of a machine is doing what the Jews have done to escape discrimination and hardship in the workplace for thousands of years...become a proprietor or independent contractor.

Starting your own business is not just a matter of investing a lot of capital. I know of many, many people, from all walks of life, who have started their own businesses.

Is it tough? You betcha!

Will you fail? Possibly! Most businesses either fail or come close to failure at one time or another. If and when that happens, pick yourself up and start again.

Will you find it satisfying? Absolutely!

Working for someone else is like living in an illusory zoo. You think you are safe, but you are one downturn from being jobless. You think you can trust your boss, but you don't know if he can trust his (and so on up the ladder).

And in the end, you can't trust anyone because they really have only an illusion of control themselves and are in no position to offer trust.

Becoming self-employed is like heading for the new world. It is dangerous, but exciting.

And in this dangerous, exciting environment, like an animal in the wild, your senses will be heightened, your mind will come alive, and your spirit will leap for joy!

You will at last be free!

34 posted on 08/02/2010 4:46:38 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Satan's greatest trick use to be convincing men he doesn't exist! But his latest novelty is Obama!)
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To: RochesterFan
Good luck!

A friend of mine who is self employed after many years working for a large company said, "it is better (a man is happier more fulfilled) to be a poor self-employed man than a rich employee!"

Funny thing that, most self-employed folks eventually do quite well financially.

35 posted on 08/02/2010 7:58:10 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Satan's greatest trick use to be convincing men he doesn't exist! But his latest novelty is Obama!)
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