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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Labor Day rant
An open letter from your company's top management.

If you're reading this at work on Labor Day, you shouldn't be surprised. After all, it really is a sign of the times.

You're all just interchangeable cogs now, disposable employees who should just shut up, do your work and be thankful you have jobs.

You can be replaced, easily, by somebody younger and cheaper.

That is, if we don't outsource your job altogether.

You may be able to reapply for it with the new company - at half the pay and no benefits.

But only if they don't move it overseas.

No one cares that you've worked hard and been loyal to the company for decades, or that you're a paycheck or less away from personal bankruptcy.

That's your problem.

What have you done for our shareholders lately?

Meanwhile, it's perfectly alright for our high-priced CEO, CFO and a few select board members to cook the books, lie to the shareholders and sell their shares, while preventing you employees from doing the same.

That's the American way. Capitalism at its finest. Economic Darwinism.

What do you have to complain about, even if we didn't budget this year to replace that dead canary in the coal mine?

We pay your salary every other week, don't we?

So what if we don't pay you overtime for all those long hours you claim to put in. Under proposed federal labor rules, we don't have to.

We even give you a choice of which HMO to belong to, as long as you agree to stay within their pool of malpractice, I mean, doctors for treatment. By the way, we have to raise your co-premium again.

Remember, once you retire, though, you're on your own.  That's we suggest you should be putting more money away in your 401 (not so O)K.

The more money you put in there, the more we can borrow against it if it's overfunded and the more jets and homes we can afford for our top executives. Think of it as incentives for them not to do bad things.

And so what if your retirement fund would've grown faster on the Craps table in Vegas than in the stock market? We matched your contribution didn't we? (Up to 50 cents on the dollar for the first six percent of your salary.)

Of course, the other 97 percent we used to pay for guaranteed pensions has already gone into the till for executive compensation, but who's counting? 
If you are, remember, that confidentiality clause in your contract forbids you from talking to any third parties. (e.g. 60 minutes and Dr. Jeffrey Wigand?)

We've also declared that everything we do and how we do it to be trade secrets. And thanks to a California Supreme Court ruling last week, it's now illegal for you to disclose any of it publicly.

If you can't tell, the government agrees with us. Even if it didn't, our vacation homes are in Florida and can't be touched.

We also don't want to hear any more talk about unionizing, either. We don't have to put up with those parasites anymore.

We'll just close shop and move South to a more "industry-friendly" state with plenty of tax breaks and "right to work" laws.

Even if that state happens to be in Mexico.

What do we care? We're a multinational. Our lawyers speak the universal language.

Besides, the customers don't care where our products are made. They care about what our advertising department and TV commercials tell them to care about.

We have figures from the marketing department and focus groups to prove it.

Have a nice day laboring. Remember to turn the lights off when you leave.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at  or call him at 215-269-5051. To read his previous columns, click here.

Sept. 1, 2003