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?