• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!fund-drive-progress-thermometer

A generous supporter has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Court Packing and Worker Rights


The continued packing of federal courts at all levels with judges who have a pinched view of civil liberties-particularly First Amendment freedoms-is getting considerable public and media attention, but a perhaps even more serous attack on basic freedom is going largely unnoticed: the growing tyranny of the workplace.

Just this past June, the National Labor Relations Board, a federal body which oversees and regulates the relationship between employers and employees, and which after five years of Republican rule in Washington is now stacked with conservative pro-management Bush appointees, voted 2-1 to uphold a private company’s policy barring its workers from “fraternizing” even off duty, whether during coffee breaks or after hours at home.

The company, a security firm called Guardsmark, had established a rule barring its employees from fraternizing “on duty or off dutyor becoming overly friendly with the client’s employees or with co-employees.”

The union, a local of the Service Employees International Union (one of the four big unions to recently split off from the AFL-CIO), had filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the company with the NLRB, claiming the new rule threatened workers’ right under the National Labor Relations Act to “self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizationsand to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”

As the organization American Rights at Work (www.americanrightsatwork.org) notes in a report on this ruling, such a ban “inevitably chills collective action of any sort.”

Since most employees can be fired from their jobs with no reason given, American Rights at Work says the new rule “gives employers the green light to invade our privacy and chip away at our most basic rights in the workplace.”

It has long been the case that America’s much-touted freedoms of speech, assembly, press, privacy and from warrantless search and seizure largely end at the factory gate or the office lobby, this new ruling extends corporate power over the individual to areas where it had largely been absent before: workers’ off-time.

Now the serfdom of the workplace has expanded to cast its dark pall over the behavior of workers who have already punched out for the day.

No more ranting about the boss at the bar after work. Maybe even no more blowing off steam to a spouse back home, if the spouse should happen to work for the same employer.

You have to wonder when American workers will finally just get fed up with this corporate Big Brotherism.

It used to be that the problem was Americans only had free speech for the eight hours a day they were asleep and the eight hours they were commuting or at home. Now it may be that freedom is reserved for just the eight hours that they’re asleep.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com


















More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
Richard Moser
The Empire Is Running Out of War Stories. Or is it? Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again?
Roger Harris
Why Trump is Facing Impeachment
Doug Lummis
Everything Going Wrong in Okinawa
Ramzy Baroud
Administrative Torture: Free Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian Citizen in Israeli Prison
Christopher Ketcham
Ode to the Drums of Ginger Baker
W. T. Whitney
Upcoming Elections Represent Testing Time for Bolivia’s Socialist Government
Louis Proyect
Building Soldier Resistance Under the Shadows of Fascism
Mark Ashwill
Reflections on General Giap and the End of an Era in Vietnam
Gabriel Leão
Killing the Messengers: Rising Violence Against Journalists and Indigenous Leaders Defending the Amazon
Graham Peebles
Climate Change: All Talk No Action
Arthur Hoyle
The Meaning of Donald Trump
Dean Baker
Those Quaint Corporate Scandals in Japan
Laura Santina
Take Their Feet Off Our Necks
Julian Vigo
The New Workers’ Revolution is Afoot
Robert Koehler
The Rights of Nature
Dan Bacher
New Report Reveals Oil Waste in CA Aquifers