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Time for another Gooberhead Award – presented periodically to those in the news who’ve got their tongues running 100 miles per hour, but forgot to put their brains in gear.
Today I’ve got a hot goober for you – a corporate chieftain who’s hot under the collar about a piece of legislation that would allow workers in a company to form a union if a majority of them sign written cards declaring they want to unionize.
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This simple step toward a bit of workplace democracy is necessary, because the corporate powers have rigged our labor laws so company executives can intimidate, shut-out, and even fire employees who attempt to join with co-workers in a union. Some 60 percent of working people say they’d join a union tomorrow if they could, and the proposed Employee Free Choice Act would make that possible.
That’s what fired up today’s Gooberhead, Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot. He profits from low-wage, non-union workers, and he doesn’t want any democratic changes that would dilute his autocratic control over working folks. So, in a conference call with several other corporate executives, Marcus blew a gasket:
“This is the demise of a civilization,” he screeched, adding, “This is how a civilization disappears.” Whew, Bernie, get a grip. Allowing Home Depot workers to organize democratically and gain a say over their livelihoods is actually quite civilized – an advance, not a demise.
Of course, Marcus was talking about his own little exclusive civilization – corporate fiefdoms controlled by self-serving, petty autocrats like him. Indeed, he is so threatened by this reform legislation that he lashed out at CEOs of other retail chains, declaring that if they’re not putting up money to defeat the Free Choice Act, “they should be shot.”
I think he meant it.
“Revealed: Bailed-Out Execs Plotting Against EFCA,” www.alternet.org, January 27, 2009.
“SEIU Calls on Bank of America to Oust CEO Over Executive Bonuses,” www.alternet.org, January 27, 2009.