johnfajardohenry wrote:I said workers have a right to quit. Would you deny that they do? Are they enslaved to the employer? Chained to their desks? etc.
Nope. Any time conditions get onerous they can quit, either individually or en masse.
I think this point is where you find a fundamental disconnect between Republicans/Libertarians and Democrats. The law recognizes that an employer is in a superior bargaining position and seeks to add protections for the employee to even the playing field a bit. I think most Libertarians bristle at this notion because they feel the employer is being punished for their success. Furthermore, Libertarians doggedly insist that the free market will work out any injustices should the employer abuse their position. In practice it has rarely worked out this way.
In a perfectly free market an employer should be able to refuse employment to anyone who is Asian, Mormon or homosexual, right? In a perfectly free market an employer should be able to force workers to stay and work off the clock. If the employee doesn't like it, they can always quit, right? What about that pesky minimum wage? Wealth redistribution! We have labor laws because we recognize that employers do not always behave fairly, employees are at a disadvantaged bargaining position and the free market rarely, if ever, cures these injustices.
But what gives us the right
to legislate morality upon employers, or anyone else for that matter? I would submit that we, the American people, collectively own
our economic system. We might not own UPS, but we own the roads that UPS uses to make their money. We don't own Wal-Mart, but we own 100 years worth of public education that has created a population that can read and write so that Wal-Mart has both customers and employees. We don't own US Bank Corp, but we own our collective prosperity, that is the social programs that have created a middle class capable of purchasing houses, cars and investing for their retirement.
Employers do not operate within a vacuum. They operate within our
society and they avail themselves of our
collective efforts in order to enrich themselves. So what do they owe back to that society that made their wealth possible? Whatever we say they owe. But just as employers need to be careful not to overfish their consumers and collapse the economy, we the people also need to be careful not to overfish our employers and collapse the economy.
It's a balancing act, but right now the scales are tipped significantly toward the rich.