Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Much Does Your Boss Buy When He Pays You?

                                            

I  have been thinking a lot about athletes lately. Well, not just athletes, employees in general. (You have a great deal of time to think when you're hooked to an intravenous tube for six days).

In my 50 years of working, I've been a bartender, a punch press operator, a solderer, a secretary, an executive assistant, an insurance underwriter and many more. I will admit that over that time, I developed a somewhat contentious relationship to management. It always seemed to me that, in general, the head offices had all the power and didn't hesitate to use it to unfair advantage, not all of them, but most of them.

So, the question is: how much of you does your employer buy when they pay you to work for them? If we are going to have a hard and fast rule, then it should be the same for everyone. If your boss essentially owns you from the time you clock in (rhetorically speaking) until you punch out, then that's the rule If they say, you can't take a knee during the national anthem, there you go. If they sayyou must provide contraceptive products to customers (against your conscience), then so be it. If they say you must marry gay people, you marry them. Refusal to play by management rules is automatically grounds for dismissal.

Forget all that stuff about free speech and civil rights. It doesn't exist when you're on the clock. 

And politicians should keep their noses out of these issues and not take sides either way, putting an unfair thumb on the scales.

Okay,  Done deal. Seems rather draconian and undemocratic to me but the rules are the rules.

What about on your own time? If your boss loves Donald Trump but you wear a prominent "Impeach Trump" button when you're off the job, can he forbid you to wear it? What about talking at work? I was once employed in factory where we were trying unionize and some people were terminated for discussing it on the assembly line. (Only the pro-union people, not those who were opposed).

What brought this up, of course, is NFL players (most of whom are black) taking a knee during the National Anthem. Something that had absolutely nothing to do with patriotism or the military but tried to highlight injustices in the black community. It offended many football fans (most of whom are white) and they boycotted the games. Trump initially brought up this controversy and he revives it whenever it starts to flag as a way to keep his base stirred up.

Naturally, being all about the bottom line, the NFL caved and decided to ban taking a knee during the anthem.

A friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook saying, "he died for my freedom, the least I can do is stand for the anthem" seemingly unaware of the irony of that word freedom in that sentence. He died for their freedom too, the freedom to protest injustice where they see it.

I wonder why this offends people so much? The players harm no one. They don't slow down the game; they don't stop work It affects no one in any impactful way but it make many Americans livid because they conflate it with patriotism. And these are rich black spoiled babies. They should be grateful, not protesting. Who do they think they are? In the immortal words of Laura Ingraham, "shut up and dribble" (or punt or whatever the comparable football term is). Maybe, as the president says, they shouldn't even be allowed to live in this country.

I've always hated the way we unconsciously say owners as if these rich white men own not only the sport but the players themselves.

But then American have almost always submissively accepted the concept that the boss who pays you, owns you while you're on his clock and even sometimes when you're not.