Dorian Warren: "Employers Are Mini-Dictators"

Apr 10, 2012

In a new episode of our weekly Bloggingheads series, "Fireside Chats," Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren sits down with labor journalist Josh Eidelson to discuss workplace democracy -- or the lack thereof. As Dorian notes, even "people who proclaim to not want government involvement in their lives and who think that somehow it's a form of tyranny are perfectly willing to walk into work every day and have a private actor with total control over their lives." In the clip below, he argues that under current labor law, "with few exceptions, employers are mini-dictators. We have to do whatever our employer says, or otherwise they can fire us."

Join the conversation about the Roosevelt Institute’s new initiative, Rediscovering Government, led by Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick.

The solution, Dorian says, is to make it clear that citizenship isn't something that can be flipped on and off like a switch. "If we accept certain political principles and freedoms in the broader society," he asks, "why would we then check those at the workplace door every single day?" By launching "a long-term term campaign to reframe how we think of ourselves as citizens in the society, in the polity, and in the workplace," the labor movement can not only improve working conditions but also strengthen unions by ensuring they "have a central and permanent role in making sure democracy is a core aspect of every breathing moment that we have."

For more, including a look at an unusual alliance between unions and Tea Partiers and an explanation of why Republicans continue to attack public sector unions, check out the full video below:



 

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