Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's the Neoliberals' Dream

Unemployment and underemployment are wonderful ideas if you like the idea a desperate population is great for your bottom line and personal fortune.

They aren't, however, good ideas if you value the future of any society and are concerned about bloodshed.

Companies count employees’ keystrokes, time bathroom breaks and monitor social media. It boosts efficiency but shreds job satisfaction."

In the piece, Times reporter Alana Semuels begins by interviewing a 52-year-old forklift operator named Phil Richards, who works in a meat warehouse. "We’re just like human machines," he says. "But with machines, they don’t care whether you feel good or if you’re having a bad day."

Richards now wears a headset, getting orders from supervisors tracking him with a device that records his time and distance on the work floor. The voice on high tells him the next job and how long he has to complete it. The mantra is "Faster, faster, more, more."

It works, and he has to work more. His employer, Unified Grocers, which supplies supermarkets, has reduced its workforce 25 percent in 10 years, while increasing sales by 36 percent.

Obviously, it isn't a union shop.

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