War on Workers

Now may be the time to take Jefferson’s advice and gear up for a revolution. Remember how the French Revolution approached the rich and powerful privileged citizens? Here is one of the latest volleys against the less privileged citizens in this country … AKA the 99%.

The War on Workers’ Religious Liberty
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 14:14
By Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check | News Analysis

The war on women advanced dramatically on Friday, when a judge in Colorado issued a preliminary injunction on behalf of an air conditioning and heating business owner who doesn’t want his employees to use contraception. The ruling only applies to this particular business, so it’s not like anyone else is going to be able to start denying insurance benefits to their employees because they disapprove of their sex lives. Still, it’s a worrying development, especially as the judge seemed sympathetic to the idea that an employer can deny benefits to an employee and earned by their work on the basis of religious disapproval of the employee’s private life.

This is part of the war on women, of course, but also part of another war: the war of employers on their employees. Chris Bertram, Corey Robin, and Alex Gourevitch co-wrote a piece at Crooked Timber where they explained how the workplace has become the place where human rights go to die.

In addition to abridging freedoms on the job, employers abridge their employees’ freedoms off the job. Employers invade employees’ privacy, demanding that they hand over passwords to their Facebook accounts, and fire them for resisting such invasions. Employers secretly film their employees at home. Workers are fired for supporting the wrong political candidates (“work for John Kerry or work for me”), failing to donate to employer-approved candidates, challenging government officials, writing critiques of religion on their personal blogs (IBM instructs employees to “show proper consideration…for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion”), carrying on extramarital affairs, participating in group sex at home, cross-dressing, and more. Workers are punished for smoking or drinking in the privacy of their own homes. (How many nanny states have tried that?) They can be fired for merely thinking about having an abortion, for reporting information that might have averted the Challenger disaster, for being raped by an estranged husband. Again, this is all legal in many states, and in the states where it is illegal, the laws are often weak.

Efforts like the attacks on the contraception mandate are part of a larger conservative push to give employers even more power over the private lives of their employees. Salary and benefits aren’t something that rightfully belongs to the employer, but are something earned by the employee. The point of compensation is that once the employer turns it over to the employee, it’s the employee’s to use as they see fit. If conservatives are successful with this effort, it means opening a huge door where your employer has rights to control the compensation after you’ve earned it. If they can prevent you from using your earned insurance benefits from buying contraception, then what’s the legal reason they can’t extend that power to say that you can’t buy it at all, not with money you made working for them?

For the complete article go to the reprint in Truthout.

I was just thinking that if I ran a company (a small business owner) I might want to deny my workers access to Hi-Ho crackers because I prefer Ritz crackers. I think the best way to protect my rights as a job creator would be to issue currency showing my company on one side (with my portrait, of course) and on the other side a list of the items that cannot be purchased with the script because I personally do not feel others should buy them. What would I suggest as an acceptable beer? But I don’t drink beer … so the money my workers earn will clearly state that it is not to be used for beer, either in the package store or in the local pub.

It’s so good that this coincides with the Republican value upholding individual rights … my rights, of course, the one’s that count. All those little people that work for me and assure that I make the big bucks will just have to be happy they even have a job. After all, I’m the one who built the company without any help, so I deserve the riches.

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