“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx
Oct 15, 2018
In early October, Verizon, the telecommunications and wireless giant, announced that it was laying off 44,000 employees, or more than a quarter of its workforce. A day later, Ford Motor Company announced that it was planning to cut a big part of its salaried workforce worldwide, although it had not yet decided how many.
Verizon spelled out its intentions. It is “encouraging” thousands of the workers it is laying off to get hired by outsourcing companies. So, these laid-off Verizon workers will continue to do the same work, but for much less money and much less stability. Undoubtedly, Ford will do the same thing.
To put it plainly, these companies are stealing the workers’ jobs and pay. And they are making the conditions of work increasingly more difficult and stressful.
All so these companies can increase their profits.
Ford and Verizon already have more money than they know what to do with. Ford sits on a cash hoard of 17 billion dollars. Verizon increases the dividend that it pays its wealthy stockholders every year, like clock work.
These companies are already enormous cash cows, bursting with ever more money.
But under capitalism, that is never enough. Companies compete with each other to make the highest profits. Wall Street financiers demand more. They demand higher dividends, higher stock prices. All so a few parasites, who do nothing useful, can sit back and accumulate ever more wealth.
The hunt for more profits never stops. To produce them, companies constantly try to squeeze more out of their workforce for less money. No job is safe, not in the private sector, nor the public sector. Capitalists have their hooks into everything: health care, education, retirement savings, public transportation – it makes no difference. The capitalists plunder everything.
It’s absolutely vicious.
The capitalists are driving the workers’ standard of living down. On the one hand, the capitalists create more joblessness than ever. For example, millions of workers who lost their jobs during the last recession never got back to work. On the other hand, low wages and irregular schedules are increasingly becoming the norm.
That’s why almost all of the 20 million jobs that were created over the last nine years of economic expansion were for temps, part-timers and independent contractors. The capitalists want it that way. They want an easily disposable workforce.
There is no reason that workers have to accept this. No company that makes a profit should be allowed to lay off a single worker, or cut wages by even a penny. And all workers should be paid a decent wage, with decent working conditions and reasonable hours of work.
Least of all should companies like Verizon and Ford, which are literally bursting with profits, be allowed to carry out devious schemes to farm work out, in order to slash wages, benefits and working conditions. There shouldn’t be a pecking order for wages and hours, depending on whether a worker is employed by a big company or a contractor.
Of course, to stop the capitalists from carrying out these attacks, the workers are going to have to organize to fight.