Family Leave Act and the obstacles (Bush is one of them)

Check out this piece on the Mother Jones Journal. They have some pretty interesting things that pop up on that site very frequently.

What really irks me is this:

The new Democratic Congress has proposed a flurry of legislation designed to bring federal workplace policy into the 21st century. In January, for the first time in 15 years, Congress amended the FMLA to allow family members caring for wounded service members to take 26 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave and expanded the law’s definition of “caregiver” to include siblings and other next of kin, not just parents. Last week, the House voted to allow federal workers to take 4 of their 12 weeks of FMLA leave with pay after the birth or adoption of a child. Virginia senators Jim Webb and John Warner have introduced companion legislation in the Senate. (Bush has already threatened to veto the bill, calling it a “costly, unnecessary, new paid-leave entitlement.”)

The irksome part is that Bush calls the proposals costly, unnecessary and an entitlement which tells us exactly who Bush is beholden to and it isn’t the people of the United States, it’s those that are members of the Chambers of Commerce, the companies who don’t want to shell out the cash to provide said benefits.

I have never worked in a job where I didn’t get sick time, vacation, personal days, comp days, etc. Hell, I worked with such enlightened folks that when I had to put one of my cats down they actually told me to take the day off with pay. But I do have friends who have lost jobs because they were sick for more than two days.

When I’ve been in management positions my policy was always that if you are sick, don’t bring it to work. Take the time out that you need to get better. And know what, nobody abused the policy at all. Treat people right and productivity INCREASES. Treat them wrong, like denying them sick time, better wages, etc. and productivity suffers. We’re aren’t slave laborers and that is precisely what some of the bigger corporations want, a class that won’t resist, that is powerless to resist. Why do you think manufacturing fled for distant shores? It fled because companies could pay pennies a day and not have to worry about labor or environmental law.

The very notion of a corporation means it is soul-less and in many cases immune from prosecution. As such, there is a culture of ignorance of the law in just about every large corporation.

File suit against a company and they’ll trot out a hundred thousand dollar defense team that’ll tear you’re $5,000 lawyers arguments to shreds using arcana of law. What about if a corporation commits a crime? That’s been done several times and they’ve gone after the leadership. All well and good but my feeling is that the law should go just a little bit further and revoke the corporate charter too. Force them to liquidate for pennies on the dollar. ‘

I have to wonder what happened over the past hundred years. From the end of the Great Depression up to about the early 70’s companies weren’t as greedy as they are today. But then I look and see that the late 60’s and the 70’s marked the ascendancy of the neocon branch of the Republican party. There is some hope though, I think we’re going to see a very strong Democratic majority in the 2008 elections. The way I see it, they’ll get a solid majority in congress which could override the veto of a Repug president.

Even my little S-Chapter corporation has a contract that protects itself and myself. But I’m also cognizant that our first duty is to provide a service. The contract just protects the company and the client.

But I could see if my company ever grew to a large size that it might become a soul-less monster, I just don’t know how to fix it so that it grows to a large size but never gets to the monster stage. I guess that going forward if I hire people that aren’t greedy asses, and if I keep it a sole proprietorship and grow it to a full C-Corp at some point maintaining majority stock ownership and seeking conscientious investors.

Time will tell. But Family Leave should be provided for EVERYONE, not just parent/child/sibling but domestic partners too.

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