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It’s only 3,400 workers that Circuit City booted out the door, so what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s not the number of workers offed, but who. Had the workforce at this electronics retailer grown too large? No, Circuit City is hiring 3,400 new workers to replace those fired. Had the fired workers been poor performers? Uh-uh, – in fact, they were the corporation’s most knowledgeable and experienced salesclerks.
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Their only sin was that they had worked themselves up to earning $10 to $20 an hour. That’s hardly a fortune – amounting to a gross annual pay topping out at $40,000 a year – but it did allow the employees to have a small slice of middle-class life. For generations, the achievement of moving more people into the middle class has been a major goal of our economy and society, and a proud hallmark of “the American way.” Not only is a solid middle class a moral measure of our civilization, uniting our people through a sense of fairness and shared purpose, but it also provides social order, a broad consumer base for the economy, and a framework for the upward mobility of the next generation.
That’s why this firing is a big deal. Circuit City, along with Wal-Mart and other corporate giants, have decided to chunk the middle class into the trash.
This firing says: Sure you’ve been with us a long time, helping us and the economy do well, but – hey – we can get a fresh face for $8 an hour. And, when those people rise up, we’ll boot them too. It’s America’s new economic model, bucko, in which you must deliver for us, be we owe nothing to you. It’s all about corporate efficiency, they tell us.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Is that our nation’s highest value? What does their “efficiency” matter if it has no moral grounding? Their model is nothing more than an excuse to extract profits from the economic well being of the many. What they are building is not an economy – it’s a robbery.
“3,400 Layoffs Send a Message To Millions,” New York Times, April 4, 2007