This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Laid off workers in Chicago speak up

I woke up this morning, turned on the news, and heard this story about laid-off workers in Chicago. It seems a group of 200 former employees at a window and door plant have staged a sit-in to protest being laid off without severence pay and other reasons they say violate their union agreement.

They are on day four and expect to stay "for as long as it takes." CBS News called the group "a national symbol for thousands of employees who have lost their jobs as the economy continues to sour."

I applaud the group. They are standing up for what they believe in and speaking out so they can be heard. It's part of what I call owning your Expressive voice. They're using their voice to meet a basic need. If they just left the company without protest, they would have regretted it. I'm sure of that. Everyone deserves to be heard. Some of these employees have been with this company for more than 30 years. They don't want to just walk away with nothing. They deserve much more than that. For too long, we've seen too many companies get away with this kind of practice.

It's time we pay attention to how poorly corporate America treats its employees. They may not get what they're asking for--the Bank of America, as the company's creditor and now holder of the company's assets, to pay what's due them--but at the very least they would have spoken up and fought for their rights. They can walk away knowing that, no matter the result.

For me, it's easy to see why these laid off workers are making this statement. When someone else tries to screw you over, it hurts, and you don't want to take it lying down. You don't want to take it at all. If you can find the strength within, you fight back. If you trust in what you believe in, you find a way to protect your interests. You can turn an obstacle into an opportunity. That's what these folks are doing. Besides, the government did just give this bank $25 billion dollars in the bailout plan. Surely, executives can use some of that money to help make things right on their end. It should work both ways, shouldn't it?

What do you think?

3 comments:

Jarold said...

Jackie,

Where is the Union in this story?
In the present state of things it is easy to blast "corporate America" but then that takes us to a 'victim' mindset and there is usually not much 'Best Self' or 'Inner Strength' when we consider ourselves victims. Lest I seem cold, I can sympathize with all impacted by the present economy and I know of few that are not touched by it - including myself.

The BIKE Lady said...

Jarold,

Good point; however, I do not see these people as victims myself--not when they are bold enough to take action. Sitting back and letting things happen to them is being victimized. Taking action, no matter if it's agreeable to all, is anything but taking on the role of "victim." I don't see that happening here.

They could have just gone on home and let the situation be what it was, but they didn't.

Does Bank of America owe them what they're asking for? I don't know. That's up for discussion between the parties involved. But at least it will be discussed and negotiated. If the sit-in hadn't occurred, then, you can bet these Union employees would have gone home feeling victimized.

And I don't think blasting corporate America leads to a victim mindset. I think we have to speak out about the absolutely ridiculous salaries being paid to these executives. They walk away from failing banks, investment companies, the auto industry, with their millions, expecting to be bailed out. All the while, the underlings get fired or laid off or let go, or whatever the current term might be, without the promise of any compensation at all.

IMHO, that has to be argued and debated.

Jackie

The BIKE Lady said...

Update: The sit-in worked! Six days later, the workers earned themselves their due: their 60 days severance and vacation pay.

How can you not be happy for them?