Friday, November 25, 2011


When I was young and looking for work, I was committed to work only for a large corporation. In my innocent eyes bigger was better. It had been preached by my dad that a big company was the way to go. He was impressed by the name, the benefits and the promise of security. I interviewed well and was bilingual so I was offered positions in many corporations, not the high level jobs that I aspired to but customer service jobs with increasing responsibilities requiring patience, sense of humor and dedication to meeting my customer’s needs.

These jobs were interesting and gave me access to other departments and the functioning of a big corporation. A big corporation is like a breathing organism with many systems and the customer service department is the heart of this body, the representatives have bonds with their customers, they empathize with their problems and mostly do their very best to satisfy the customers.

However over the years I have seen the business focus slip from encouraging the representatives to resolve customers’ issues to preserving the interest of the company at all cost. Officially in publication and training they still maintain to listen to the voice of the customers but in practice they do not offer the support that is needed to meet the customers’ requests. The heart of the organization is no longer healthy, information is limited, and communication foggy, formal training deemed too costly is now given on the job, staff reduced to the lowest possible headcount. People often say that manufacturing is a dead industry segment in America. It would be healthier if measures were taken to curb the greed of CEO’s and their fleet of overpaid VP’s and desperately eager directors. Most of them have lost touch with the demands and reality of each day working in the plant for their workers on the floor. It is ludicrous to preach safety and then make people work 12 hour shifts for weeks in a manufacturing environment. They limit their liability by having supervisors hold daily meetings with their crew and wearing bright yellow jackets proclaiming safety first while cutting heat to the plant to save money. But as long as a department is officially dedicated to Health and Safety they are innocent of any wrong doing.

Corporations accept financing from government agencies with the understanding that they will remain operational and therefore saving jobs but they do everything they can to fail and move their operations as quickly as possible out of the country. We need to also look at how corporations have been able to bribe officials in foreign countries for contracts or lobby to get cheap electricity to power their plants holding entire communities hostage to their threat of moving their operations to a more friendly locations.

In my former company each salaried employee was required to work overtime without pay. All of these hours are untaxed revenue for these companies since they benefit from the labor and production without reporting it. I wonder how that can be considered ethical or legal. It is stealing money from the workers, their families, their communities; millions of dollars that should be paid is kept inside as unaccounted assets. They get away with not paying their workers because it is a big loophole.

Our politicians are often tied to these businesses by lots of money. They won’t change the system that benefits them until the public starts to demand fair treatment. Fox news and the Tea Party have convinced millions of people that we are over regulated, I say that is false. We need more oversight not less. But we need to chase the lobbyists out of Washington. It should be considered bribery to send lobbyists to Washington to request that each corporate demand is met. The latest dubious victory is awarded to the Frozen Food Lobby who convinced the US Congress that pizza is now a vegetable because of its tomatoes sauce content. I guess that nothing is impossible in America if you have access to corporations’ deep pockets, not even reclassifying plants. Now if the question in Congress had been about coconuts there might have been some area for debate; is a coconut a fruit, a nut or a seed?


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