Walmart isn’t the only “leader” in the race to the bottom. Here’s a story how the tomato pickers in Florida have been screwed by Burger King after it reneged on a deal to give them an extra penny per bucket.
This is not about profits, it is about control, the same thing that motivates the top brass at Walmart. Is there any rational reason why managers have to get up at ungodly hours and fly to nowheresville Arkansas to attend meetings other than to demean them? Wouldn’t it be more efficient and cost effective if they held the meeting by video conference and submitted their reports electronically? No, they have to kiss the ring to prove their subservience.
Here the story from the NY Times.
This is the best part:
Telling Burger King to pay an extra penny for tomatoes and provide a decent wage to migrant workers would hardly bankrupt the company. Indeed, it would cost Burger King only $250,000 a year. At Goldman Sachs, that sort of money shouldn’t be too hard to find. In 2006, the bonuses of the top 12 Goldman Sachs executives exceeded $200 million — more than twice as much money as all of the roughly 10,000 tomato pickers in southern Florida earned that year. Now Mr. Blankfein should find a way to share some of his company’s good fortune with the workers at the bottom of the food chain.
The lessons that were learned a century ago about the need for workers to organize seem to need to be relearned. Democracy is not an end it is a living thing which needs constant tending. Worker associations are the most democratic institutions. They are the only sector which starts from the bottom up and gets to influence public policy. No wonder they are hated by the autocrats who run big firms, which are the least democratic public institutions.
A perfect example can be seen in today’s ruling by the SEC that stockholders can’t place the names of candidates for the board of directors on the proxy statement. The SEC has just told the owners that they don’t have any say in how their own firm is run.
For the wonks, here’s the story:
S.E.C. Bars Investors’ Directors
Walmart is an example of a bad actor, but it wouldn’t be able to get away with the things it does if there wasn’t an environment that supports this type of management already in place.