The Other Shareholder

I hear a lot about the prime directive of corporations, that first and foremost they serve the interests of their shareholders.

And I would agree - as long as it is understood that the primary shareholder is the workforce, the labor.

There remains a pernicious idea that those workers who cannot cram themselves into the executive elevator should struggle on entirely alone, that any effort to organize, to acquire a page or two in the phone book of organizations that will support their efforts to obtain a living wage, relatively safe working conditions, and other basic requirements for security from harassment, discrimination, and other unprincipled behavior - that these efforts are somehow unfair.

I have long wondered why a country that so prizes democracy relies completely on autocratic institutions to provide for its economy. And that consistently buys into the autocracy's insistence that democracy of any kind in the workplace is un-American.

Perhaps if we think of labor as a shareholder, as people who have a stake in the economy, as people who need to be made happy, we could get a little further along in balancing the equation.

But before we get there, we have to get back to the Union.