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Letter to the editor: Fear-mongering disguised as pro-business fanfare

By , - Last modified: February 16, 2018 at 8:02 AM

Thanks for the chuckle!

As I finished my first cup of coffee this morning, I came upon page 9 (of the Feb. 2 Central Penn Business Journal).

At the top is published a weak argument against government action requiring employers to compensate workers for overtime demanded (not “mutually decided”, as the writer portrays) by employers. The writer is a member of the Pennsylvania assembly seeking re-election and advocates for continued abuse of employee loyalty. Good luck earning votes with that.

The bottom half of the page is the latest in a series of desperate pleas for government action to save Three Mile Island from energy market conditions which for decades favored nuclear but now favor other technologies. This author happens to be a Dauphin County commissioner running for Congress and he advocates for the government to pick winners and losers in the free market. Hmmm, from a Republican...?

Both of these opinions are to be respected as the Constitution guarantees; however my opinion is that both are little more than fear-mongering and pandering disguised as pro-business fanfare seeking campaign contributions in an election year. 

I have personally lived through the “arrangements” and exercised my “right to decide” to work 60, 80 or more hours per week to perform tasks of employees the company refused to hire while my paystub stated my salary was computed based on 40 hours. Ask any manager or salaried employee who works in the warehousing or retail industries for confirmation of this fact of life — “do or die” — policy. I believe there are (or were) class action lawsuits to redress this issue so please investigate/report and while you have peoples’ attention; please also ask them if they support use of their tax dollars to set a precedent for corporate welfare at TMI. I believe you’ll find, and most of your readership will concur, that such policies are short-term patches that are ultimately unsustainable economic models and most will immediately recognize such solutions are bad for business and the communities in which it participates.

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Bill Fotsch February 17, 2018 8:38 am

What a sad, albeit all too common perspective. The author's referring to a “do or die” — policy, fails to recognize the choice any employee has to continue to work at the company or quit. Particularly in these times of low unemployment, alternative job opportunities are everywhere. Thinking we need more government regulation to solve this problem fails to recognize the cost of regulation and the reality that too much regulation is what throttled our economy for years.
A better approach is found with Industry leaders, like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and BHP Billiton, and hundreds of private companies empower employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company. Self interest rather than government regulation drives this. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background: https://hbr.org/2018/01/more-than-a-paycheck http://www.forbes.com/sites/fotschcase/2016/05/31/engage-your-employees-in-making-money/

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