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February 28, 2014 12:32 PM The Power of Employers to Abuse

By Ed Kilgore

Digby talks about one of my favorite topics today—one that to a remarkable extent is under-reported despite its pervasive reality in the lives of many millions of people—the power that a high-unemployment economy gives individual employers to be abusive:

If you give small minded people power they will inevitably abuse it. And our job market for the past five years has been a laboratory for worker abuse. Not that workers are in a position to complain, mind you. When there are people lined up around the block ready to take your job you’re not inclined to make trouble.
And to think that all these businesses are making record profits.

Extrapolate the power dynamics of individual workplaces and you naturally find many business lobbies and their political allies arguing that unions should no longer be tolerated and that any costs imposed on employers in pursuance of the welfare of their employees must naturally operate to reduce jobs. Whatever the economics of the situation, the whip hand is hard to relinquish.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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