During the Industrial Revolution, people were lured away from their farms and small shops to work for corporations. They were promised a better life. “You will no longer be at the mercy of the weather!” “You’ll be taken care of in your elder years!” They gave up their freedom and autonomy in exchange for financial stability. Not a bad deal.
But then something happened. There was a power imbalance, corporations grew powerful and people acting as individuals were much weaker. Corporations swooped in and took advantage of this power differential.
The employee-employer contract was broken. Companies started laying people off. Jobs were automated. Jobs went offshore. Job security disappeared and with it went the promise of financial stability.
Over a generation, employees had burned their bridges. There were no farms to go back to, no cobbler shop to re-open. Workers were at the mercy of the corporation and full of fear.
Now in full domination, the corporations could yank whatever they wanted out of the hands of the workers. The pension quietly went away, workers now had to save their own money for retirement in a 401K. Health insurance costs that had been paid by the employer, were now gradually transitioned to the employee. They called it “cost cutting”. Shareholders loved it.
Slowly the worker was taking on the burden of financial risk, while the reward was still going to the corporation, its executives, and shareholders.
The compensation for the executives went through the roof, while the workers got less and less. The gap in income between the CEO and the average employee shot up to 339 to 1.
Then they went after employee personal time. First, the lunch hour disappeared. Next, vacation time shrunk. Then the 8 hour day kept getting longer and longer until people were expected to be available at all hours of the day, every day of the week.
I had a colleague tell me that they felt the corporation was little by little erasing their existence. First it was an anonymous cubicle, then they were all in remote offices with no human contact with people on their teams, then they took the desk and put everyone in unassigned seating. All they were by that point was a name in a directory.
You are being taken advantage of!
Job security. Gone. Pensions. Gone. Health insurance. Gone! Lunch Breaks. Gone. Vacations. Mostly gone. Do you work an 8 hour day? Are you expected to be available on evenings and weekend? Free time. Gone. Hell many of you even gave up your damn desk!
What did you get in exchange for these concessions? Bupkis!
And whose fault is that? It’s mine. For putting up with it. And yours. And yours. And everyone else who has allowed their company to create an imbalance in their side of the contract, and sat by and let it happen.
Corporate office workers are being taken advantage of! Labor workers have unions, but office workers act as individuals. When we see an injustice we just keep our heads down and hope we’re not next. They tell us that we should be happy to have a job.
Well it’s time to rise up. We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore!
As corporate workers we need to demand our rights. Unemployment is at an all time low. Now is the time to seize the opportunity and shift the power back into balance.
Here’s a starter Corporate Worker Bill of Rights. Insist that your company certify their agreement to these rights. Refuse to work anywhere that won’t support these rights! You are in the driver’s seat, stop letting them scare you into submission!
The Corporate Workers Bill of Rights. Employees have the right to:
— Know exactly what puts our job at risk.
— Keep our benefits.
— A space to work in and call our own.
— A workplace free from dehumanizing language, free from rule by fear and shame.
In exchange for these rights, I will give you the best version of myself and serve the company to the best of my ability.