Wake up, Corporate America, and treat workers better
The pendulum has swung too far — and Labor Day week makes us recognize the simple fact that business is now destroying its most important asset: talented and loyal workers!
For the past decade, even before the global economic meltdown, American business has been "cutting the fat" from its workforce. Many of those jobs were indeed unnecessary in today's technologically productive times. Economic changes make many jobs obsolete. We no longer have buggy whip-makers or as many blacksmiths, once necessary occupations to keep American business going.
In fact, today we don't need as many travel agents, now that you can book online. And we may not need as many stockbrokers in a world of online trading. We may feel it worthwhile to pay only those who can demonstrate added value — a personal recommendation of a little-known vacation spot or good advice on an investment.
Yes, times are changing when it comes to the labor market. But there are some talented workers whom we will always need. And those workers should be rewarded appropriately for their valuable work — not squeezed between less pay and longer hours, just because employers know that jobs are scarce and people are afraid to quit and seek something better.
Many employers have gone too far — and here are just a few examples that have come to my attention in the past few months. These are the true stories that make you wonder just how shortsighted American business has become.
— A hospital nurse in a major hospital confided to me that in her intensive-care ward, they are so short-staffed that these caring nurses stay late on their shifts to make sure patients' needs are covered. They rarely take lunch or breaks. When the administration learned that they were extending their hours, they were told they would lose a day of work each week — because the hospital didn't want to be liable for overtime — even though the nurses never claimed overtime.
— A drugstore employee of 13 years, a department manager (whom I personally have known for years in my local store, and noticed because she is so outstanding and helpful), confided to me that her store manager told her that under a new company policy, she would never get another raise or cost-of-living adjustment.
She was told this is the company policy for department heads because they already "made too much money." When I called, a company spokesman refused to comment on their new wage policy.