The Common Good
January-February 1999

Corporate Impunity

by Bob Saverine | January-February 1999

I REALLY COULDN'T believe what I read in "Big Labor and Big Business" ("Letters," November-December 1998) which included the statement "...the AFL-CIO doesn't care about people any more than ...

I REALLY COULDN'T believe what I read in "Big Labor and Big Business" ("Letters," November-December 1998) which included the statement "...the AFL-CIO doesn't care about people any more than does Lee Iacocca." Anyone who has read the papers for the past two decades will find regular announcements of the "downsizing" and "restructuring" of workers, euphemisms for firing and terminating workers.

One could also read of the enormous sums of money corporate executives were making while at the same time they were eliminating workers. In addition, one could read of an ever rising stock market that made large investors and corporate executives who owned company stocks wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. In the same two-decade period, wages for all workers stagnated, hardly kept up with inflation, and left many families experiencing periods of unemployment, making it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for families to pay their bills. The continuing record high pace of personal bankruptcies confirms this in very stark terms.

To claim, as this letter did, that there is no difference between management and labor today simply does not square with reality. Management has only been interested in the bottom line while workers have only been interested in earning enough to make ends meet. Management has been able to impose its will on labor with impunity for far too long. Because of this, the right to work and to a living wage, the cornerstones of Catholic social doctrine, are both being violated with impunity by corporations large and small, public and private.

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