I am probably not going out on a limb if I state that like most Americans, I’m somewhat confused about the Occupy Wall Street protest. I know I’m supposed to be supportive, but not sure why. I think I finally got a handle on it though. Hear me out:
I work for a company that is representing a group of workers who want to be paid by their employer for all the time they spend performing work for their employer. The employer is a giant American corporation. One so large, that I’m pretty sure that every household in America has purchased their products at one time or another. We are representing workers in just one location. The workers are asking to be paid for an amount of time per day that probably adds up to less than ten minutes.
Corporate America may argue that ten minutes per day per worker, adds up over time and would cost the company untold profit. But here’s the thing: this case has been going on for almost four years. The company has spent far more on its attorney’s fees and expenses that it ever would have if they had simply paid their employees fairly to begin with. I’m not a math wizard, but I do know that an employee making $15 an hour, is far less than an attorney billing at $425 an hour, plus expenses. Add that up over four years, and see who comes out ahead.
The bottom line is, the company is not interested in what is doing what is right for its employees, or even its customers. As long as it shows the stockholders and board of directors that it has their best interests at heart, they are doing their job.
I feel this is also why the economy is failing and unemployment is so high. Corporate America is more interested in profits rather than keeping jobs in America, so most manufacturing is now done overseas where labor is cheap.
If given the choice, most Americans would buy a t-shirt at Wal-Mart that was manufactured in China for $4.99, than buy the same t-shirt manufactured in the US, at a locally owned store for $19.99. It becomes a vicious circle, because without jobs to have money to buy the t-shirt in the first place, there is little choice on what t-shirt to buy and where to buy it. Therefore, Corporate America has dictated where Americans shop and what they purchase.
So now I understand the basic principle of the protest. I hope this has been helpful, and please fly with us again.