Posted on: March 28, 2021 Posted by: Anna Lee Comments: 0


Earlier this month Elon Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos for the title of wealthiest being on planet earth, as rising inventory values swelled his internet price to $182 billion. Bezos topped out at a paltrier quantity, a mere $181 billion. However that was mid-March. Who is aware of the standing of this horse race now?

One reality we do know is that final Thursday the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dominated in opposition to Musk’s anti-union habits, citing Tesla for violating labor legal guidelines by retaliating in opposition to staff who supported unionization and by posting a tweet that threatened employees with a lack of inventory choices ought to they unionize.

Because of this ruling, the NLRB ordered Musk to re-hire and problem back-pay to an worker who had been fired as retaliation for his help of unionization and in addition to delete a 2018 tweet by which he wrote: “Nothing stopping Tesla crew at our automobile plant from voting union. May accomplish that tmrw in the event that they needed. However why pay union dues & quit inventory choices for nothing?”  The NLRB judged the tweet to be “coercively threatening,” on condition that Musk has over ten million followers.

Moreover, Tesla must revise its anti-democratic and silencing firm coverage that forbids staff from chatting with the media, because the NLRB forcefully reminded the corporate that prevailing labor legislation in America typically “protects staff after they communicate with the media about working circumstances, labor disputes, or different phrases and circumstances of employment.”

Bezos, for his half, has additionally been no slouch in his efforts to keep up authoritarian management over Amazon’s workplaces and to thwart unionizing efforts.  In 2019, Amazon fired a Rashad Lengthy, a warehouse employee in Staten Island, New York, for talking out in opposition to working circumstances and attempting to prepare a union. As I write, Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama are engaged in a union organizing drive, with voting by employees persevering with by the top of March. Amazon has wall-papered bogs with anti-union propaganda. Amazon is so against unionization that, based on reporting by Vox final fall, the corporate is growing particular surveillance software program exactly so it may well observe unionizing efforts in its workplaces.

Whereas Bezos and Musk might owe a debt of gratitude to U.S. capitalism for his or her success in accumulating obscene wealth, it’s clear they really feel no such gratitude for or allegiance to U.S. democracy. Moderately, they search to disclaim democracy and primary rights to their employees, making clear how capitalism and rising financial inequality are merely not appropriate with democracy.  Each Bezos and Musk appear to imagine that they must make the principles, determine the legal guidelines, in no matter area they personal. For them, the rights of possession supersede the democratic rights of their staff.

Musk has made his distaste for democracy crystal clear, supporting the overthrow of democratically-elected leaders in different nations when it serves his company pursuits.  Musk evidenced this stance final July when he tweeted in opposition to a second COVID aid bundle, arguing {that a} “authorities stimulus bundle just isn’t in one of the best pursuits of the folks.”

He then acquired a response from one other person, stating, “You recognize what wasn’t in one of the best curiosity of individuals? The U.S. authorities organizing a coup in opposition to Evo Morales in Bolivia so you might acquire the lithium there.”

The tweeter was referring to the actual fact that the U.S. authorities aided right-wing forces to take away the democratically-elected President Evo Morales Ayma with a purpose to safe reasonably priced lithium provides for U.S. battery-makers corresponding to Tesla.

Musk’s stylish and revealing response?

“We’ll coup whoever we would like! Cope with it.”

Such an announcement positive doesn’t make Musk sound like a lover of democracy.

This context makes clear why precisely Biden’s current voicing of help for organizing efforts by Amazon employees in Alabama is of such important significance.

As I wrote in an earlier piece for PoliticusUsa, this help for employees by an American president is an unprecedented present of help for democracy and maybe an unprecedented salvo in opposition to the powers company America yields.

In U.S. political tradition, employees’ rights merely don’t obtain a substantial amount of consideration and definitely aren’t highlighted as central to cultivating a genuinely democratic society. On the entire, most individuals, even most employees, are resigned to the truth that after they enter their workplaces, they go away any expectation of democracy on the door.

So when Biden launched a video earlier this month encouraging employees to participate in deciding whether or not they unionize or not and endorsing the significance of unions in “leveling the enjoying area” and increasing the advantages democracy, it was an enormous deal as a result of he was putting on the coronary heart of company America and billionaires like Musk and Bezos, who, regardless of having untold wealth and energy, nonetheless insist on disempowering their staff and controlling wages.

Biden defined fairly clearly how the type of autocratic management company bosses like Musk and Bezos search severely undermines not simply employees’ lives however democracy as properly:

“Unions put energy within the arms of employees, they degree the enjoying area, they provide you a stronger voice, in your well being, your security, increased wages, protections from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Unions elevate up employees, each union and non-union, however particularly Black and Brown employees.”

Simply as voter suppression efforts search to silence Individuals, efforts to thwart employees looking for to unionize silences huge numbers of Individuals as properly, denying them democracy within the workplaces the place they spend a lion’s share of their waking hours every week.

Not often, if ever, have we seen a president arise so fiercely for unions, for democracy, within the face of company energy.

Certainly, as labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein noticed, “That is new, nothing prefer it earlier than. Politicians all the time give nice speeches at union conventions and keep away from union organizing campaigns due to chance of failure. However Biden broke this norm.”

We see the world of wealth and energy billionaires like Musk and Bezos are preventing to maintain on the expense of democracy for all and rather than sharing the wealth employees collectively produce.

Biden has thrown down the gauntlet, displaying he’ll combat in opposition to company autocracy and for employees’ democracy and welfare.



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