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Forum Post: BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU: WALMART, Harley Davidson & the Absurdity of Compartmentalized Thinking

Posted 1 year ago on Nov. 20, 2012, 5:01 p.m. EST by therising (6643)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

When I think about the fact that 6 members of the Walton family have as much wealth as the poorest 40% of American citizens combined and then con sider how they're STILL trying to squeeze a bit more out of employees, I'm baffled. It's just so weird. I realize that corporate leaders and their minions (and even shareholders in this "ownership society") suffer from the disease of compartmentalization. But is that disease so blinding that it prevents them from seeing that they're messing with their OWN CUSTOMERS?!

American citizens will need to make a decent wage in order to afford stuff (whether it's flat screen TV's or Harley Davidson motorcycles). So why the hell do corporate giants like Walmart. and Harley fight like hell to screw their employees, the very people who they need to buy their stuff. There must be a good metaphor for this in the animal kingdom, but I just can't think of it. Or wait, maybe no animal would be so stupid as to bite the hand that feeds it.

Here's piece I wrote on Harley Davidson that speaks directly to this issue:

HARLEY'S FREE RIDE:  THE GUTTING OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND

I'll never forget my first time on a Harley.  I was eight years old and absolutely obsessed with getting a ride on the gleaming machine that was often parked near our house.  The bike's owner was a family friend named "Whitey", a jolly factory worker with a bushy white beard.  Picture Santa in faded jeans and a blue bandana.  

After some intense lobbying on my part, Whitey checked with my parents and the deal was done.  On a bright sunny July afternoon, he loaded me on the back of his white fatboy and roared through the curves on back roads.  The engine rumbled magnificently and the leaves of the trees blurred into a sea of green.  I wrapped my arms as far around Whitey's beer belly as I could and grinned uncontrollably.  

It was the summer of 1977 and I remember thinking "We could go anywhere on this thing."  My personal understanding of the dreams of freedom, adventure, and independence was born during that ride.  We were traveling on familiar roads yet I was awake to the vivid scenery in a whole new way.  It was as if someone had taken the lid off the world.        

We've come a long way since my ride on Whitey's white stallion.  Unfortunately Harley Davidson's "Live Free and Ride" image of independence is beginning to ring hollow.  After all, Harley is a company that has developed a very public habit of government dependence.  It also doesn't help that Harley's management team seems to have done its damnedest in recent years to lower the wages of the very workers who were once its core customers.  

One might argue that Harley Davidson has rarely been managed well by the top brass.  However, it would be difficult to image a more reckless group of stewards than those now steering this once legendary American company.  They too have been grinning and thinking "We could go anywhere on this thing" only they're wearing alligator shoes and are more enamored by stock options than the wind in their hair.  Under their Gordon Gekko-style leadership, Harley Davidson has engaged in what many have called extortion, first in Pennsylvania and then in Wisconsin.  Their greed knows no bounds.  

The current crop of executives at Harley were educated at some of America's finest schools, but the tactics of this crew remind one more of the mob.  The basic shakedown perpetrated by this new elite goes something like this:  Give us millions in taxpayer money or we'll take a big chunk of your community's jobs away.    

I read in the Wall Street Journal that the leadership of Harley recently told Pennsylvanians that they would move the company out of state if taxpayers didn't give them millions.  So much for the Harley image of rugged individualism and the independent spirit championed in "Easy Rider".    

The company of course kept their facility in PA after winning government subsidy and wasting the resources of several other target communities which Harley had pretended to eye for manufacturing.  It was around this same time that Harley Davidson, along with McDonald's, countless banks and many other brazen corporations had the nerve to put their hand out for federal aid. They took corporate welfare as part of the big Wall Street bailout while millions of American suffered and received no bailout themselves.  

"Privatize the profits, socialize the losses" is the mantra, a sickness that has crept into the bones of corporate America.

It turns out that Harley putting its hand out is not an isolated incident.  The company has gone to state or federal taxpayers for handouts at least 3 times in the last three decades.  Perhaps Harley should change its slogan from "Live Free and Ride" to "TAKE a free ride."    

Give up significant benefits and take pay cuts, Harley told many of its workers.  The rest were told their jobs had been eliminated.  Keep in mind that the workers Harley has treated so poorly are not just the people who helped make the company great.  They're also taxpayers who helped pay for Harley's government handouts.  Harley made all sorts of commitments of jobs when they recently took money from Pennsylvania taxpayers, but ask anyone working inside the factory about what really happened.  They'll tell you that the company reneged on its jobs promises, bringing in temps for a while and then tossing them aside like so much loose change.

It takes a lot of nerve to threaten to take jobs from the citizens of Pennsylvania.  The senior management at Harley made similar threats to Wisconsin taxpayers.  Amazingly, Harley's leaders told the good citizens of Wisconsin that they'd move their midwest facility to Pennsylvania if the state of Wisconsin didn't give the company millions of dollars.   

After the incidents of extortion, there's always lots of happy talk from senior management about cooperation and shared success.  This reminds one of the post-fight chatter of an abusive husband:  "I hit you because I love you baby."     

How will Harley Davidson get into the pockets of taxpayers next?  Are you aware that Harley appealed its property taxes on the grounds that its site is so polluted that it's not worth anything?  Will they ask for more handouts from the U.S. government as they quietly hire subcontractors to make some of their parts oversees using cheap labor?  

Let's face it.  The American flag flying outside Harley are beginning to seem as out of place as those in Wal Marts.  The truth is that very few of the top corporate executives around the U.S. these days demonstrate any meaningful love of country.  They're tools of global conglomerates.  Their fancy public relations firms may drape them in the American flag but their true allegiance is to short-term profits no matter what the cost to company, community or country.  Many shareholders share in the blame since they foolishly push for illusory short-term gains for themselves at the expense of long term stability for the company and the country.       

There are lots of good corporate executives and a lot of good companies in America.  The bad apples, however, are ruining it for everyone, both the people and the legendary American companies they've built with their sweat and ingenuity.  

What Harley execs and the rest of the bad apples who share a shortsighted worldview fail to realize is that consumers vote too...with their wallets.  The self-serving leadership of Harley (and the shareholders who rule over them) need to remember that Harley sells more than motorcycles.  It sells dreams.  And it's hard to imagine customers buying the live free and ride dream of Harley for much longer.  After all, the company's elite leaders have undermined the entire brand of independence by suckling regularly on the government teat.  

This disease has infected many in corporate America.  What are they teaching at Harvard Business School, the Naval Academy, Yale and Westpoint?  Sell out your brand?  Gut the soul of your organization?  Trade your entire reputation built over decades in order to bump your third quarter profits?  Preach rugged individualism and the power of private enterprise out of one side of your mouth and beg for government bailouts out of the other?  Across the country, a new breed of brash self-serving short-term thinkers seems be taking the reigns.  Their scorched earth policy is not just hurting their companies.  It's also harming our communities and our country.    

The good news is that many shareholders and consumers (otherwise known as citizens) are beginning to wake up.  Our parents' grandparents' generation of conservative business people are appalled by the actions of the so-called leadership at many of today's companies.  Executives from the greatest generation who protected our nation and the world during World War II understand that a company is only as strong as its community.  After all, who exactly is going to buy these motorcycles if companies like Harley continue to drive down the real wages of American workers?

I'll never forget my first ride on that Harley, all those horses rumbling underneath us as Whitey skillfully steered his gleaming machine through the rolling hills.  To Harley senior management, I say this:  Whitey made good money in the years before Ronald Reagan delivered his government handout to Harley.  Whitey was once your core customer.  Years ago, he would have lined up to meet you.  Now he just thinks you're a bunch of bush league silk suited schmucks who gutted the once great company that built his white stallion.  

It is because of this distrust you've inspired that your shortsighted style can't succeed.  The shame of it isn't just that people are no longer buying your line of bull.  It's also that your kids and grandkids will someday realize what you've done and how it's affected them and their country.  It seems likely that your offspring will be even more disappointed in you down the road than your ivy league professors are now.  You sold us all out:  your kids, your company, your community and your country.  Shame on you.

89 Comments

89 Comments


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[-] 3 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Hey, nice post!! Very well written.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Thanks very much for taking the time to read. Glad you enjoyed.

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (4759) 1 year ago

Good post. Just thinking about the 'Scorpion Riding On Frogs Back' story.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

I wonder what the founders of Harley would think of the present day company. I wonder what Sam Walton would think of the way Wal Mart treats its workers.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Ah yes. Hadn't thought of that. So, are you suggesting Harley as a corporation is the scorpion, capable of building great machines, but down deep it's still just a corporation which is, when you get down to it, obligated LEGALLY to pay attention to one thing for its shareholders: the bottom line, money.

I imagine the founders of many companies can't believe what harm their once wonderful companies are capable of.

I bet a lot of founders have graduated from pride and excitement to disappointment when the scorpion finally stung. This clip which I think you already saw from the award winning film "The Corporation" really shows the inoccuous origins of the corporation and it's eventual morph into stinging scorpion.

[-] 1 points by Shule (1976) 1 year ago

This all brings up an interesting question; should one blindly buy from a domestic manufacturer who makes a compromised product, pays employees unfairly, and scoffs at labor, and environmental laws simply because they are domestic, or should one patronize a manufacturer who produces a high quality product, and compensates employees well, and observes fair labor and environmental laws even though they are of a foreign nationality (like from Japan, or Germany)? (not necessarily saying anything about any motorcycles or motorcycle manufacturers here, but I posit the question theoretically about goods in general.)

As an aside, I ride a Yamaha 250 XT not because of any economic or political principle, but simply because I wanted a small go anywhere bike, and Harley and nobody else I know of here in the States produces such a motorcycle. Yamaha does have its headquarters in California.

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

The truth is we handed them a beating... the boomers bought their anniversaries in an attempt to relive childhood. And by 2004 they were in decline as the market saturated, sales slumped, and stocks plummeted. All of this was predictable and so the pres retired and excorsized his 43 mil in stock options. We, the consumer, destroyed these people - we bought their merchandize, emptied their shelves... lived, breathed, and ate their product - and then we spit them out again.

Americans... we are the world's most ravenous and ravaging consumer. Sure, give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything. Well, we ate the harley cake.

We've learned the error of our ways; harley is older than even we are, and we know it, and so we've gone in search of a more youthful model to be found in a sportier straightup that handles like a dirbike and one-wheels with but a blip of the wrist.

While you write the Ode to Harley, our progeny ride on... - look at what they've done; our motorcyclists - enthusiasts and bikers - are an American Icon.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Wow, sounds like you have lived and breathed this as more than just a motorcycle enthusiast. You seem to get what makes this company tick. And how it suffered almost as a result of its success (boomer cash in). All those boomer bikes sat quite a bit in the garage and a few years later, as you know, that pristine bike got sold (the fickle boomer had lost interest) and one could get a like new bike instead of buying new. That had to be a serious piece of the problem for Harley.

I think you rightly point out the power and fickleness of the American consumer. I wish more of us would realize what strength we hold when we vote with our wallets.

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

Boomers bought these bikes with easy financing, lending is actually at the heart of this just as it was with the housing bubble.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Well, where would you like to see Harley in 5 years? And where do you see the company actually going? Are they going to cash in and run the good name into the ground? Will any of their workers be able to afford their bikes in 5 years? Because the yuppies really aren't buying bikes anymore....

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

As long as "maleness" exists, harley will exist. Where do i want them in five years? I want a traditional all mechanical line; we're going japanese is not going to cut it. Horsepower, torque, improved transmissions, with reverse for the fatties... and smoother riding suspension. I want them to push their trikes more, too.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Man, you should get in there and talk to senior mgmt because I think you're onto something. You're talking about taking Harley back to its core. Maybe its business practices could follow suit (at least the good parts).

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

It has to go back to its core or its done, it's a niche market. And of course the metro freaks need to go, too. It's about image.

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

That's the thing isn't it?

Full mechanical, and high American quality means re-opening manufacturing here in the US enough to drive part prices down. Steel processing isn't environmentally friendly if it's done cheaply-and most likely not completely even when done expensively, and then THAT gets attacked.

Those things are hard to accomplish for a niche market when demand doesn't exceed supply costs.

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

Do you have any idea what we're even talking about?

We're talking about harley davidson: mechanical in the sense that we want to see them big ole jugs; we want to watch them rock back and forth in a bare frame; we want to see machinations - pushrods and wires and things that pop and hiss. We want to watch it tick, spit, chug, and pop-fart blue smoke into the air. This is our version of "American Steel."

Hard to do? Neh... it just takes someone with business acumen and these Harvard corporates just ain't got it - look at what they're doing to your country.

In York, you don't have to venture far to realize what they've done to American steel, either. It's pretty obvious.

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

So you ask if I have any idea what you're talking about and then reiterate and agree with everything I just posted?

You agree that the American steel industry has suffered a LOT-hence my comment that in order to return to full mechanical/steel engineering we would have to REOPEN manufacturing (steel) here in the US.

One of the reasons the industry has been forced into "going Japanese" is because they make cheaper parts out of cheaper materials in Japan.-which is why I said that we'd have to re-open manufacturing (of steel parts) here in the US "enough to drive part prices down".

Bringing the steel industry back to America IS going to be hard to do AND business acumen is only ONE facet of the problem in my opinion. Steel processing requires disturbing earth resources and THAT is a hugely contested issue right now. Or do you disagree?

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

No... and yes. Going Japanese, or rather "turning Japanese, I really think so," was a reference to the futuristic appearance of Japanese motorcycles.

To sell a new Harley it has to have that "I love it and I have to have it" appeal. When, and this is a very specific "when," it sits and leans on its kickstand - think of it as market "display." Important because they're not so inexpensive that we can't pass them up.

Harley in recent years has become somewhat more streamlined, aerodynamically smoother, in appearance. They're also using an aluminum block that yields a more muffled tone and chain driven cams that no one likes listening to. Because it lends the rather disturbing impression that the bike is low on oil.

They're going Japanese, I really think so.

This is a niche market. We want a mechanical appearance but we also expect smoking horsepower, and a smooth ride, from a "softail." Other issues here too - for example, too lean to ride and quiet as a church mouse.

I would tend to think that bringing steel back would be virtually impossible in light of environmental regulations. But I can't drive by these old factories without imagining the loss for communities. Couple this with the loss of other industry like, for example, the old clothing factories and the loss of manufacturing has been devastating. Many of these communities have never recovered. And we should, truthfully, be using our own steel and wearing our own clothing.

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Not sure I agree that Harley will always exist. For a number of reason.

  1. Harley’s prime customer base is aging and dying off. The average Harley rider is a grey beard, of which I am one.
  2. Harley is pricing itself out of the market. The cheapest Harley, Sportster, is around $10K, the more popular FL series is well over 20K; and goes up very quickly to $35K or so. Harley shops are as much a clothing boutique as a motorcycle dealer. Harley logo baseball caps $25, shirts $65, and so on. People will not or can not pay the outrageous prices.
  3. Harley’s bread and butter is the 100 year old, 45 degree V-twin engine. Ancient automotive technology. Harleys are under powered and overweight when compared to similar motorcycles. Frankly Harley’s strain to keep up and maneuver in traffic. I’d say they’re so bad it make them dangerous to ride in traffic.
  4. The public has caught on that Harley’s aren’t cool anymore. People know these Harley riders trying to look cool are really embarrassing themselves. Not to mention people are tired of the too loud exhaust pipes.
  5. Harley has nothing in the works to bring in the younger folks. They killed the only bike that had a chance of bringing in new blood, the Buell. As far as I know Harley has nothing new in the works. The just continue to make the same basic motorcycle year after year, just change the paint scheme, maybe a different seat or handle bars, etc… Just nothing new.
  6. Harley is getting competitors in the V-twin market. Victory Motorcycles; and Indian is coming back again (for about the fifth time).

OK, I know this is off the topic of the thread, but it’s an area I’m interested in. If Harley survives another twenty years I’ll be surprised. Oh, did I mention I own two Harleys and have owned some kind on motorcycle for the past fifty years.

Now back to you regularly scheduled programming.

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

I don't completely agree with this. Many of the gray beards are dead and gone and now I'm seeing a younger crowd, which points to possible survival as a niche market.

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

OK, I concede Harley could survive, but won’t be the same company it once was. Harley is still the #1 seller of large displacement motorcycles in the world. They’re opening a assembly plant in India to fulfill overseas demand. I’ve heard, but can’t confirm, that Harley sells more bikes outside the US than in America.

However, I stand by my statements that Harley’s are overpriced, overweight and under powered compared to any other motorcycle. In spite of that I still own two Harley’s. I enjoy riding them. For the record, I’d say half of all Harleys sold aren’t ridden. It’s common to find three or four year old bikes for sale with just a couple thousand miles. I think some people buy them just to be cool whether they ride or not. On the flip side is are the “biker lifestyle” guys who eat, sleep and breath Harley’s. I’m somewhere in between, I just like taking a several hundred mile rides because I like to ride; but as a daily “around town” bike I ride my Suzuki. Easier to handle and maneuver around town.

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

What if we moved harley into Germany?

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

they're Harleys in England,my family is from/lives in England, its a common sighting never been to Germany but i bet they are there. Im only 21 and as a motorcycle owner i say Honda is the easiest way to go for the young guns.

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

True. That's why I say harley is a niche market. It does appeal to some young people but it's hard even for the cruiser crowd to resist the Honda or the BMW.

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

yep they're so good my second bike was a 80's BMW runs like a charm for how old it is. But i know when i get older i will go to a older style bike and if they are still around a Harley would be nice

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

My opinion, you're certainly better off with a well cared for used harley. There are some beautiful bikes out there right now for cheap. And as for me, I'm now leaning in the direction of a BMW.

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

to the dual sports i have heard good reports about them.

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

I like my BMW K100 not to bad of a vibration, its a standard seater so its comfortable when i drive long distances and can even attach a saddle bag or two. I would say go for a BMW they are nice bikes which will do the job well.

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

I’d really like to have the new BMW K 1600 GTL, 6- cylinder. It gets excellent reviews in the motorcycle magazines. I’ve rode a few BMW boxers over the years, but just didn’t like the feel of the boxer motor. But, I’m an old guy and probably won’t be able to ride much longer. Can’t justify a $25K Beemer at my age. I’ll just keep the two, payed for, Harleys and Suzuki, probably until I die.

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

Interesting. I'm curious about the the dual sports. I think they call them adventure tourers now.

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

I’ll say one thing about used Harleys. They tend to be pampered and meticulously maintained. BMW seems to be also well cared for. However. Japanese bikes are treated more as utility vehicles or commuter bikes. People tend to own them for cheap transportation more than anything else. For instance, you won’t see Harleys sit outside uncovered in all weather, but that seem to be the norm for Japanese bikes.

Also, for the record, the crouch rocket, 180 HP, Hayabusa’s;, ZX’s and other road racing replica bike fad is waning. The market is moving toward dual-sport and cruiser models. I think that’s a good thing.

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

I dont mind the boxer engine since it was only my second bike. It all felt weird in the beginning but it grew on me and i dont see myself getting another bike.

Its nice to see alot of people ride on this forum

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

I rode my Ninja 250 from NY to Fl one summer. Absolutely terrifying and thrilling at the same time.

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

That would be a death blow for Harley. It's the American rebel, bad ass biker image that sells Harley’s. That’s the ONLY thing that sells Harleys.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Big seller in Australia, to a cross-section of people.

We call them Hardly Rideables. I much prefer a Beamer, myself.

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

haha... and you don't think there are rebels in Germany?

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Thats a damn good post.

[Removed]

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

"After all, who exactly is going to buy these motorcycles if companies like Harley continue to drive down the real wages of American workers?"

I've wanted a Harley all my life. Not because of who makes them or what the company profile is or was or how "American" or noble or gallant etc the company executives were in the past or aren't now. I LOVE THE BIKES THEMSELVES. But...I also like OTHER bikes for other reasons.

So who will buy them? People who decide they want one enough to cough up the money to. No matter how much you or I or anyone else might agree or disagree with such a mindset, there ARE millions and millions of people who couldn't give a flying FIG about politics or bailouts or company histories etc. They just want the end product.

You can't make someone CARE about something they simply don't WANT to care about. And I'm fairly certain that when most people purchase something, they do it based on cost and how close it suits their needs/desires and NOT the personal behavior of whomever might be managing the company that makes it.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

I think it's about integrity. You either live by your principles or you don't. You're either consistent or you're not. In the past few decades, it's become easier and easier to bury your head In the sand and be unaware of the implications of your purchases. Now, however, with things like the legitimate grievances of Walmart workers becoming widely known, it's a little more difficult to remain unconscious. As a result, more people than usual will think twice before heading to Walmart. That's just one example of many.

Now, you might say "Lits of people ignore that stuff. You won't get everyone or even a large amount of people to change their buying habits and avoid Walmart.". But the fact is that even a small percentage of people becoming conscious of the issue and shifting their habits makes a difference to Walmart. Voting with your wallet matters.

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

I'm not disagreeing with you. I agree that it IS about integrity. But buying a Harley is a completely different exercise than shopping at WalMart. People NEED food, clothing, etc the type of stuff purchased at WalMart. People don't NEED Harleys (no matter how many times I've tried to use it as an argument for getting one).

More people will think twice. More people might avoid WalMart. But there's always going to be a LOT of people who can't afford to avoid WalMart, or don't have another reasonable choice close by. Most people make their daily purchasing decisions based on THEIR OWN immediate needs/convenience/cost/interests-not those of someone else. Not all. But the average person coming home from work usually doesn't think in terms of "I need bread and milk but I also need to make sure my purchase reflects my social views." And even if they did there are still going to be an awful lot of moments where it's more like "Crap....forgot milk and bread, the kids are hungry now" and our social stance slips down the priority list due to time/distance/cost.

And sure, sales at WalMart might drop enough for WalMart to take notice. But WILL they? But that's not even my point. Let's say that sales DO drop enough for WalMart to take notice:

*How will WalMart KNOW that the drop is due to people taking a particular stand?

*Is there ONE particular stand they can attribute it to or many?

*What is the most likely way that WalMart would or could respond to such knowledge?

A-by instantly raising workers pay and benefits.
B-by firing people to absorb the sales losses C-by raising prices to absorb sales losses D-a combination of all of the above.

IF WalMart and such other companies really ARE as evil and selfish and greedy as they are portrayed to be-then you should automatically assume that the LAST thing they'll do is take a personal hit financially just to make a "small percentage of people" happy. You should automatically know that the FIRST things they'll do will hurt everyone else even more.

Another thing to consider-how many "little people" will you PUSH AWAY or lose for your cause by striking in a manner that involves yelling or hampering their mad dash into a store on a holiday? Or by causing the prices of food etc to go up? Or by causing them to lose their jobs-even if those jobs suck?

I'm not saying don't be MAD. I'm saying be MAD in the most effective, and least harmful way possible if you want to grow your movement.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

What exactly would be the most effective and least harmful way to resist Walmart's unfair treatment of workers? I'm just not so sure I understand what is possible short of a strike or support for a strike? They told civil rights participants they were being disruptive too as I'm sure you know.

[+] -4 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

You won't succeed in "making WalMart" or anyone truly nice or generous or correct in your view through blackmail, resisting, coercion etc. Those things come from WITHIN and must be voluntary in order to affect genuine change.

Civil rights are the "rights" given through or esteemed among the "civic" body itself.The fact is that the majority of the civic body of the US (and most other societies) believes that private companies have the right to dictate the conditions of employment they offer and that private citizens have the right to accept or reject those conditions and work somewhere else.

You and I or anyone else might not LIKE the end result, but our approval or disapproval does not determine what is "fair" or "unfair" when two parties enter into a mutual, willing relationship with each other. As long as both parties are operating within the established rules/laws of the contract they entered into, it IS "fair".

If you want to change what is considered "fair" or "legitimate" in contract based relationships on a societal level, you're going to have to CHANGE the laws/rules that govern our society so that behavior outside of those laws/rules has a naturally flowing consequence to those who violate them. But BE consistent. For example-if your lawful wife decides at some point that how you treat her is "unfair"-are you going to be perfectly fine with the government stepping in and punishing you based completely on her opinion? Be careful what you ask for....

Let's say you saw a house on fire. You can scream or protest or draw all the attention you can to the fire, but none of those things actually put the fire out. Extinguishing the fire is the naturally flowing consequence of people applying the laws of science to the situation.

And getting in between the people coming and going from the burning house screaming about the fire and how horrible it is, rather than doing the hard, physical, actual WORK of helping to put the fire out AND prevent more fires in the future eventually makes people wonder if that's all the involvement or effort you are willing to put out there, or capable of coming up with.

Just some thoughts...

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

You'd prefer they protest in some quiet place far from the store. Is that what you're saying. If so, that doesn't make any sense at all Betsy.

[+] -4 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

If that's what I was saying, I'd have said that. You missed my points entirely.

I don't care where they protest, or how loud, or how long. Screaming doesn't solve problems.

[-] 5 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Who said anything about screaming?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Your burning house analogy - well - it - basically - Stinks.

In this case the burning house is workers rights, full time employment and a living wage.

The Fire Department = "IS" - The public protesting in support of the workers rights.

[+] -4 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

The public showed up in massive support for WalMart, or themselves, Thursday and Friday. It wasn't even 99% to 1% in the protestors/unions favor.

[-] 1 points by grapes (3085) 1 year ago

You should look up opportunity costs. It does not hurt when one does not know but it does when one knows.

[+] -4 points by mapleLaneser (-120) 1 year ago

Here is something for all of you whining about the poor walmart employees. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4388239978352&set=a.3849709755433.2158771.1058904912&type=1&theater

[+] -4 points by mapleLaneser (-120) 1 year ago

If the employees of Walmart do not like their job due to low pay, etc, etc then get another job

[-] 4 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Ahh, so you're a believer in the free market curing all ills. It can do no harm right? Ask the son or daughter of a former slave sold on an auction block whether or not the free market can do no wrong. It must be reigned in by human beings if it is to survive as a system.

[-] -3 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

slavery in the USA was abolished in 1865, highly unlikely that there are children of former slaves still living. if you want to talk about and to slaves, go to the sudan where arab muslims own black christian slaves.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Slavery by another name - you should watch it. It is an all inclusive slavery though it started out as an extension of the original slavery.

[-] -3 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

the aim of the obama adminstration it to make all citizens slaves of the govt.obamcare and all the new taxes coming in 2013 will do that coupled with all the epa regulations( laws).

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Fundamental change for the better - FOR ALL - will only happen through the commitment and involvement of -The People. Pushing issues like the Move to Amend Campaign to remove personhood from CorpoRATions. The EPA is weak department that should have teeth to implement real change in moving off of fossil fuel.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

I agree

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Hey T-rising - G-Day. No need to tell me - I already know that you are intelligent - and working for a better life for The People - All of the People. {:-])

[-] -3 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

sorry, although fascism is a change from our constitutionally guaranteed way of life it is not a change for the better.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

SFB - did you figure that out for yourself? Or did someone clue you in?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

You do of course realize that fascism comes wrapped in guns, flags and bibles?

Not diversity.

Not acceptance of others.

It is in fact a decidedly "right wing" concept.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Well if two face really did not know before - well then - you just shattered his(?) world. Not to worry - I am sure that 2 face is well aware.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

It has gotten rather repetitive.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Those just learning their talking points are like that. But then it seems that many only ever begin to learn their talking points.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

You always wind up wondering what their other usernames were, and they never say.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (28443) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Really not important - though it can be somewhat irksome. It is enough to know that they come to this forum - FOR - NO Good Purpose.

[-] -3 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

Why dont you use a dictionary and look up the meaning of fascism.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

I did.

It said it was a "right wing" political movement.

Don't tell me you're reading the Nazi dictionary?

I've seen documentaries too

Yep. Right wing, racist, bigoted, xenophobic scum with flags, guns and bibles.

[+] -4 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

you are being taken in by the lefties . they are responsible for the breakdown of morality, they have no tolerance for anyone that doesnt agree with them. they are INTOLERANT, critcize them and you're labled a racist, homophobe, sexist, fill in whatever you want. the goal of this adminstration it totalitarianism, you will be nothing but a semi fed ward of the state with no rights, no free speech, nothing. you are being set up to be taken over. even if you're part of the takeover as soon as your usefulness is over, you'll be gone.

[-] 2 points by gsw (2697) 1 year ago

how did lefties end morality?

the takeover happened but you are pointing finger in wrong direction

http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-the-one-percent-seized-control/

[-] -3 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

been to a movie or watched a t.v. program in the last few decades. hollywood is extremely left wing. ever look at a fashion magazine? less clothes , more nudity.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Say what??

If you don't understand fascism you may very well be all of those things and more.

I did provide threads for that discussion.

Yes, when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and holding a bible. ---John Sinclair---

I added the gun bit to update it.

You have zero proof of the veracity of your statement.

Nothing at all. In fact it's the opposite of the truth.

[+] -4 points by janus2 (-387) 1 year ago

you're another useful idiot of the regime.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

And your just a useless idiot.

Two of them in one in fact.

That makes you 3X as useless as anyone else.

[+] -5 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Where did anyone say that the free market "cures all ills"? Or can do no wrong? Systems created and operated by human beings are prone to ills and wrongs because people are prone to ills and wrongs.

The employees are Walmart are not OWNED by WalMart. They were not bought or sold on an auction block. I find your introduction of the horrors endured by slaves as a comparison to bolster your straw man argument here cheap and disgusting.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

So why should they "get another job" as you suggest instead of working to improve the company where they work now?

[-] -1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 1 year ago

Maybe just maybe the people you are talking about have no desire to "improve the company where they work" because they feel they are being screwed and in return are trying to screw the company.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Wait, are you a member of the Walton family? You seem awful defensive.

[-] -1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 1 year ago

Nah, but you know as well as I there are people who do work and could care less about "working to improve the company". All they want to do is get their 8 hours in and go home.

They have no desire to do anything more - now that is not to say that everyone is like that but those who aren't will move up the ladder.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

So, the folks that struck for better working conditions, marched for child labor laws, etc., were they a problem for you too? Do you ever see any justification for protest? Did the civil rights movement sit alright with you or were those folks to noisy. I feel like I'm talking to some old guy shouting about hippies and saying "Love it or leave it man!". Seriously? You don't feel some kind of kinship with Walmart workers.... At lest more so than the Walton's???? You have me baffled.

[-] -2 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 1 year ago

Let me ask you - have you ever been in a picket line that lasted for 6 months to a year. Have you ever been on a picket line where the shifts were 8 hours - 24 hours a day. heve you ever been in a picket line where the weather is 10 degrees for weeks on end and the only thing to keep you warm is a 55 gallon drum with a fire in it.

Have you ever received a meager $55.00 a week for protesting and not receiving a wage.

Well if you haven't then you know nothing about picketing for what you think should be your rights.

Protesting one day, where the sun is shining doesn't make it.

The vast majority of people on the protest line were union personnel - not wally world workers.

Todays society is too dam lazy to put any effort and "real sacrifice" towards getting what they want. So don't give me your crap about not feeling any kinship with wally workers.

Todays generation doesn't have a clue as to what it takes to "protest".

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Ha! We're you trying to be humorous? What exactly do you call the Occupy movement and the occupations across the country and the world which were mostly made up of "today's generation"? This was the biggest protest movement since the civil rights movement of the 60's.

[-] 0 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 1 year ago

You didn't address my comments about "picketing" did you? You can't because you don't know what it means to really do and what it takes to make changes in what you believe in.

The Occupy movement is just a "drop in the water" when it comes to "standing up for rights" compared to those who stood in the picket lines in the past in this country - and that's what we are talking about about-

Wally world protesters aren't serious about their commitment to make their demands met for if they were, they would be on the picket line day and night.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

What about all the people who for months occupied spaces around the country and the world 24-7? You're silly to diminish that.

[-] -3 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Where did I say they should "get another job"?

[-] 5 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

So, the folks that struck for better working conditions, marched for child labor laws, etc., were they a problem for you too? Do you ever see any justification for protest? You and SteveKJR seem to be suffering from the same delusion. Did the civil rights movement sit alright with you or were those folks too noisy. I feel like I'm talking to some old guy shouting about hippies and saying "Love it or leave it man!". Seriously? You don't feel some kind of kinship with Walmart workers.... At lest more so than the Walton's???? You have me baffled.

[+] -6 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

You accuse me-without any proof at all-of "putting words in people's mouths just to argue against them" and then post this?

Bravo. Seriously. Do the words hypocrisy or irony baffle you?

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Man, I hope they're not paying you too a premium wage because you're really not very good at this troll thing :)

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Keep a close eye on the news tomorrow.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Every employee has the right to negotiate for a fair wage. Even the CEO's of major corporations negotiate for their salaries.

The fundamental function of a union is to collectively negotiate for many workers, leveling the great imbalance in bargaining power from the employer to the employee .

The current disparity in incomes over the last 40 years can be clearly seen in the following interactive graph. What most don't understand is that inflation has robbed them of any real increase in wages.

http://stateofworkingamerica.org/who-gains/#/?start=1968&end=2008

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Great points. Thanks for making this comment and providing the link.