Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Corporate responsibility

Recently I wrote a piece "The Pride of Labor" and how we as workers owe as much loyalty to the companies we work for as they give to us. You know the statement "with great power comes great responsibility"? Well, it seems that many corporations seem to want to have as much power as they can with as little responsibility as possible. I know some people will say that the government forces them to be responsible and if only regulations were lifted, they'd be able to do so much more good. However, I just don't see that happening. Look at BP, look at Enron or any of the other avoidable financial or economic disasters that could have happened if only a company put responsibility and safety ahead of profits.

I'm not saying that they need to completely sacrifice profits for the sake of keeping from accidentally spilling a gallon of oil here or there. Profit is what drives business, it's what fuels enterprise. Unless you're independently wealthy, you go out and try to bring home money because that's how we survive both as people and as businesses. I would never expect companies to take a loss quarter after quarter just to keep people employed, I realize that in sagging economies cuts have to be made to stay solvent. Yet, when I see executives making hundreds of times more annually than the entry-level employee and making bonuses every single quarter, it's hard not to see that as unjust. When you've worked at a company that allows millions of dollars to be lost every single month because a few people are making hefty commissions from cooking the books and allowing fraud to happen while everyone else has their benefits slashed in the name of saving money, you can't help but be outraged.

When you give your working life to a business only to have your benefits ripped away from you so that shareholders can take more of a profit each quarter and bonuses will be higher for execs due to their "cost-cutting measures", that's not mutual loyalty. That's being exploited and that's what unions ideally are there to protect workers from. Yes, I know unions aren't perfect but it's better than the alternative.

1 comment:

  1. That's no way to be talking about "people", after all corporations have been given the same rights as any person now through our amazing legal system. Seriously though, so long as the major driving force is fiduciary responsibility over all over, you will have those at the helm trying to guide, coerce and influence the public, legal and political systems in the name of maximizing profit. Profit is not an ugly, however corruption and greed are the hairy pigs in the room!