The New Monopoly “Free Market”

     Is that what you want?
                                                 Todays corporations are all about the “Bottom Line”. Part of achieving an improved “bottom line” is about reYa Want It? Talk to Us!ducing the quality of customer service. Just as the corporations have reduced the pay and benefits of their workers, so to have they attacked the customer.
     When you only have one or two big corporations to chose from, you are forced to deal with them on their terms. In other words, “you, the customer, don’t mean sh-t”.
     Monopoly capitalism means you, “the customer” loses. You have no where else to go. You have no one else to complain to. Look at the airline industry. Is it a better experience today when you fly as it was 10 years ago? No f’in way. Pay for bags. Canceled flights. Major delays. Today we have about 20% of the companies to chose from we had 10 years ago. They only give you what they have to to compete, but they only compete with one or two other corporations.
     These huge corporations have attacked the unions, done away with the pensions, and eliminated the competition. Now they are attacking the customer. Pay it, or blow it out your ass. That is their attitude. They know you have to come back, because you have no where else to go.
     The Corporations have manipulated the legal system to the point where the customer has no power to sue. They have eliminated the competition so the customer has no where else to go. Now they are attacking the people from a political standpoint so you have no options at all.
     They also continue to attack small business. The success of these United States is based on the success of small business. Their intent is to totaly control their competition, and in the process, small business in our country will not exist. They will sue them out of business, and if that doesn’t work, they will get the politicians to legislate small business out of existence.
     Welcome to the wonderful world of Corporate Control of the world.

Providing a Written Statement

        Should a steward advise a member to provide a written statement of events when the company asks for one? At the time, it may seem like a good idea because it allows the worker to explain his actions, but my advice is always NO.
        Let’s say a driver has been accused of being unprofessional with a customer. The customer has called in a complaint. What happens now? The company has the right to conduct an investigative interview. They have the right to ask questions and hear the driver’s side of the story. As a steward, I would advise the driver to be honest, but cautious. There is no need to elaborate on every answer. Do not feel that a lull in the questioning needs to be filled with elaborations.
        Reduced to writingOften, the investigative interview is concluded with a request for the member to write down the events in question and provide the written statement to the company as soon as possible. Sometimes they want the member to write the statement on the spot. That’s not a good idea.
        The company has the right to take notes during the investigative interview. The driver’s oral answers to the company’s questions will constitute the driver’s statement. But a written statement almost always works to the detriment the member. The company compares the written statement to the facts provided in the interview and invariably finds a discrepancy. Then they accuse the driver of dishonesty.
        If the company chooses to pursue the complaint, than it is reduced to writing. This means that the company gets the complaint in writing. The contract says that in this event, than the driver has the right to respond in writing. This response should address the concerns raised in the written complaint. Again, there is no need to elaborate. It’s always better to say too little rather than say too much.
        Know your contract language concerning formal complaints and member statements. Providing a written statement is more likely to cost a member his job rather than save it. Be aware of the dangers.

The Real Agenda of Business and Politics

    I AM THE GOD OF CORPORATISM! The real agenda for the big corporations, and the politicians owned by them, is obvious. Reduce the economy to the point where they can control labor costs, and make the system such that they do not have to pay for benefits, and healthcare. In the process they can get rid of the Unions that have been the campaigners for things like the “living wage”, “pension benefits”, “adequate healthcare”, “child labor laws”, “the weekend”.
      How dare the Unions feel that people are somehow entitled to an adequate standard of living.
     One of the other points of battle for the Corporations and the Politicians, is the fight against small businesses. Small businesses provide direct competition on a local level to the “large corporations”. Besides that, small businesses generally care about their employees, and small businesses try to encourage the success of those employees, with the idea being the employee will then return the wish for success for that business.
     The “large Corporations” like to function with the “slave labor” mentality. The “do it or we’ll kill you” mentality. They function with the “we control our world” mentality. Controlling their world includes controlling the politicians that may want to regulate the Corporations.
     Why do you think there was no public option in the new healthcare plan. Why do you think the bailouts went to the big banks, but no help has ever come fourth for the little homeowner. Why do you think the news “corporations” continue to drive the anti-worker sentiment in this country. 
                                                            The Politicians are Corporate owned!
Lock, stock,and barrel, they do the bidding of the large corporations. Today the badge of honor for a politician is that they support the people, and their interests. That is the battle cry of most of the campaigns you hear. Doesn’t matter what political persuasion you may be from, it’s what you will hear.
     Taking the economy to the lowest possible level will remove the ability of the people to fight back forever. Making the average Joe happy to feed his family, and taking away any hope of the American dream is the goal of Political/Corporate America. Actually there is no “Corporate America” anymore. We are being controlled by “Global Interests”.
    Until we have a total reform of the election process, none of it will ever change. We are in a “catch-22”. The only way things will change is if our politicians change things. Yet our politicians are owned by the corporations. 


Why China is Winning the Economic War

During the ‘cold war,’ a term used to describe the tension between communist and capitalist countries that lasted from 1947 to 1991, one of the fears was a military conflict between Russia or China and the U.S.

It didn’t happen. The potential of a military war instead morphed into an economic war.

The U.S. was winning hands down for a long time, but not so much anymore. It used to be that the U.S. was number one in pretty much everything: education, technology, standard of living, economic and military strength, admired world leadership. It was leading the rest of the world into the future with the demonstrative power of democracy and free markets, new technological breakthroughs in automation, computers, communications, energy, medicine, space travel, to name a few.

Over the last ten years China’s economy has surged past those of Canada, Spain, Brazil, Italy, France, and Germany, and is expected to pass Japan this year, to become the second largest economy in the world, behind the U.S.

Whether it’s manufacturing efficiency, high-speed rail-line technology, nuclear power plant construction, clean air energy technology, education, China is making impressive global inroads, even in areas where the U.S. still has significant dominance. Much of it has to do with China’s massive population, about which the U.S. can do nothing.

For instance, while U.S. Internet companies dominate global headlines, China now has the world’s largest internet market as measured by the number of users. Yet internet use has only penetrated 22 percent of the population versus 75 percent in the U.S. Meanwhile, U.S. Internet giants like Google, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, Facebook and Expedia are experiencing problems trying to transport their dominance into the Chinese market. Part of it is obstacles placed in their way by China’s government, in support of China’s state-controlled corporations. The result is Chinese internet companies like Tencent, and Baidu, cannot help but become world leaders.

Here’s a statistic of more importance. U.S. universities will graduate 150,000 engineering students this year, while Chinese universities will graduate more than 500,000. I’ve had people tell me that’s an unfair comparison since China’s population is larger by approximately the same ratio. But that’s not the issue. The issue is the degree to which China has moved higher education to the top of its priorities, and the fact that 500,000 new engineers a year will probably come up with more high-tech innovations than 150,000 can.

China’s great leap forward has been going through the same phases the early U.S. experienced as it worked toward becoming the world’s dominant economy.

When we criticize China for the treatment of its underpaid and overworked labor force we sometimes forget that in the early years the U.S. also exploited its workers, even utilizing child labor in 14 hour days in garment, textile, and shoe factories, coal mines and crop fields, which gave the country its initial low-cost jump start economically.

It appears China is beginning to exit that phase and enter the next, of treating its workers better. In the past year Chinese workers have been allowed to form unions and strike for higher wages and shorter hours at various auto and electronics plants.

The west would probably like to think that is due to the pressure put on China to improve human rights. However, China has never shown any inclination to bow to pressure in any area. The fact is that the next phase of China’s economic development must be, as it was in the U.S., to develop a strong domestic economy. To do so it needs to have a more prosperous population of consumers, rather than depending on low cost exports to other countries.

Meanwhile, it can be said that China is eating America’s lunch, never taking its eyes off the goal, while we squabble among ourselves, paying no attention.

That’s unfortunate. As Sam Houston said in the U.S. Senate in 1850, “A nation divided against itself cannot stand.”

Yet, for the last 15 years the U.S. has divided itself in increasingly bitter time and energy-consuming political arguments: the morals of President Clinton, whether or not war should be waged to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, whether the country’s current problems are due to the depth of the economic hole dug during the last administration, or ineptness of the current administration in pulling the economy out of the hole.

Meanwhile, China has kept its eye on the goal. It not only is making great economic strides, but on the financial side has become the world’s largest creditor nation, even as the U.S. has become the world’s largest debtor nation, with China holding much of its debt.

The U.S. needs to interrupt its angry divisiveness and name-calling long enough to recognize the portent of what is going on. Unfortunately, in this particularly acrimonious mid-term election year, that is not going to happen.

Make My Day

Every day that I worked at UPS I thought about how I would make my grand exit if I were to quit. Here is somebody who acted out that fantasy. I love this story…

Think you’re having a bad day?

Police say a JetBlue flight attendant who got into an altercation with a passenger on a plane arriving in New York City and deployed an emergency exit slide so he could flee has been arrested.

They say Steven Slater was arrested on charges including criminal mischief and reckless endangerment following Monday’s incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Slater faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted, according to WNBC.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police say Slater was working on a JetBlue Airways Corp. flight from Pittsburgh when he got into a heated argument with the passenger about baggage. They say as the plane was landing Slater used the public-address system to berate the passenger. They say he then activated the slide, slid down and went to his car.

The New York Daily News reported that he took over the intercom and called the passenger a 12-letter epithet beginning with m and then told everyone, “I’ve been in the business 28 years. I’ve had it. That’s it.”

The JetBlue Embraer 190 had just arrived at JFK from Pittsburgh.

Corporate Nationalism Is Dead

   AH, the old days  The days of Corporate Nationalism are over. UPS is a perfect example of how the “bottom line” drives a company away from caring about their employees in America.
     The company used to have what I call the “Jim Casey management method”. My impression of that method has always been that “we are all in it together, to benefit us all”. The Teamsters were invited in to organize the company to create a structured system to function by within the company. Everybody that worked there could expect the same treatment. No one had to fear favoritism from the boss. All opportunities were made available based on performance, not on how brown your nose was.
      The company showed the employees how valuable they were to the company through various award systems, and outside activities. The job was still tough, and the battles were still fierce, but an employee could still expect a fair shake if they demonstrated that they cared about the profitability of the company, and cared about working as a team to get the job done with their fellow employees. Team play was encouraged through softball games, and get togethers sponsored by the company. Becoming friends among the workforce was considered a “formula for success”. Employees were awarded for safe driving, safe work methods, volume development, etc. Now most of those programs have been tossed in the name of profit.
     So where are we today? I do not have to tell you the effect of Telematics and the way the company uses it to brow beat the drivers. I do not have to tell you how management has a total “do it, or be fired” mentality. I do not have to tell you how the company continues to attack the Teamsters, and the contract, continually, even when they are being unfair to one employee or another.
It’s strictly about the ‘bottom line”. I do not have to tell you about the “Lord and Master” type of management. 
      Employees are an expendable necessity for doing business.
      The management mentality is to do as little for the employee as they can, in order to improve profit for the public stockholders, and reduce the costs of operation. Doesn’t matter at what personal expense, or damage to people it does. People no longer matter.
     Think our world has not changed? Think we have not become a world of the giant “multi-national” corporations?
                                             Look in your own backyard!