Thursday, July 01, 2010

Which Side Would Luke and Han Be On?

Yes, we all love us the space movies, but this is nevertheless beneficial to actual flesh-and-blood human beings, I think.

A Marin County jury awarded $113,800 in damages against filmmaker George Lucas' company Wednesday for withdrawing a job offer from a San Francisco woman after she disclosed that she was pregnant.

Lucasfilm Ltd. denied discriminating against Julie Veronese, and said it revoked its offer of a 30-day job in 2008 as a manager at Lucas' San Anselmo estate for reasons unrelated to her pregnancy.

But the Superior Court jury, after 2 1/2 days of deliberations in Veronese's lawsuit, found that Lucasfilm had discriminated against her because she was pregnant. Jurors also agreed with Veronese that she had been assured of an ongoing position after a 30-day tryout ....

When this story was pointed out to me today, I (facetiously) said: "Just wait. The Supreme Court will reverse it."

Because actual human beings mostly get short shrift here in Freedom's Land. Our fine corporations now own the keys to Congress, the White House, Supreme Court and the vaults at Fort Knox, so everyone who works for a living gets to stand at the back of the line when the goodies are handed out.

What makes me say things like this? Especially when a Kenyan-Muslim with Communist leanings resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Why, thing's I've observed as Your Faithful Union Rep. For instance:

* A large animation company demanding in writing that its employees not share wage information with each other, even though the demand was illegal.

* Another large company insisting it had the right to lay employees off at its whim, but the employees had no corresponding right to resign from the company.

* Companies badgering employees to work for free, telling them they weren't "team players" unless they did.

What I've discovered over the years is that some companies are more scrupulous about following the law than other companies. Many corporations are happy to push envelopes and cut corners if it increases profit margins. (Perhaps you've noticed this trend in different news reports over the past few years. There's a kind of a theme: "We got away with it last time, we'll get away with it this time too.")

Which is only right, because if there's one thing I firmly believe it's that the folks with most of the money here in the U.S. of A. just don't have enough.

The top 1 percent of families hold half of all non-home wealth.

The middle class’s major assets are their home, liquid assets like checking and savings accounts, CDs and money market funds, and pension accounts. For the average family, these assets make up 84 percent of their total wealth.

The richest 10 percent of families own about 85 percent of all outstanding stocks. They own about 85 percent of all financial securities, 90 percent of all business assets. These financial assets and business equity are even more concentrated than total wealth ...

What's happened, of course, is we've long since become a country that -- in its day-to-day life -- lives by the Golden Rule*. And even then, if the some of the rules prove inconvenient, many of our corporate citizens have few qualms about breaking them.

Nice to see a court rule the other way ... if only until the next court above reverses the ruling.

* Those that have the gold, make the rules.

12 comments:

Floyd Norman said...

Thanks for the insight, Steve.

So very sad - yet so very true.

Anonymous said...

Wait until George sics that cow Jane Bay on this woman to eat her.

Anonymous said...

When you allow corporations free reign in a free market, eventually, all of the wealth will be condensed to a tiny portion of the population, and they will then eventually own the government.

If you don't like it, complain to your politicians about the lack of restraint corporations have over buying laws and having them in the pocket of politicians. Limit the amount corporations can spend for lobbying, and finally, if corporations want to be treated like a legal person, then let them be treated like one in every way, so that when they break the law, make them (the bosses) go to jail, or disband them entirely.

If nothing is done, then the free market will continue to make corporations even more powerful, and you will see more of this.

Anonymous said...

> and they will then eventually own the government.

This country was founded on the corporate ideal. The world's largest international trading corporations settled the original colonies. Industry and economy was a large part of the fundamentalist Christian doctrine in America. That seed later blossomed into the Manifest Destiny that cleared the lumber, laid the railroad tracks, dug the gold and coal mines, and drilled the oil.

Corporations have always been there right next to, often above, American government. The government's interests and corporate interests are one in the same. Together they are the Dow, the S&P, fiscal policy, monetary policy, the Federal Reserve, the military, all of it. They supply everything you need to call yourself a citizen of the first world - your running water, your electricity, your automobile and your gasoline, your healthcare. They are the land beneath your feet and the sky above. They supply the debt that you owe when you are born within its borders.

Why this is so surprising to the descendants of Jamestown is a reflection of how successful an experiment is has been. Bash corporations all you want, but they ARE 'modern civilization' as we know it.

Anonymous said...

If 'modern civilisation' means that corporations can run rampart and lie, cheat, and steal their way into the future while everyone else pays the price of cost cutting measures (oil spill), then you can keep your American system, while I'll gladly take the European system where the individual has more power to have a say. For example, Europe will soon force open standards in companies like Apple, Nokia, etc, allowing for people to pick and choose as they see fit and not be locked into systems that will gouge their wallets. This will foster more competition which will create more innovation.

America has had it's day, and sure the corporate system might have worked 200 years ago, but now it's beginning to run afoul (bail outs, housing collapses, etc). It's time the 'experiment' as you put it, to stop or change with the times.

Anonymous said...

They supply everything you need to call yourself a citizen of the first world - your running water...

Yeah, our flammable running water. Thanks, corporations!

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change unless the people collectively agree to give up their first world standard of living. As long as we continue to demand this cheap energy Apple iPhone fantasy of modern life, we will continue to exploit, oppress, and deceive. This very blog would not exist but for the acceptance of this fantasy.

vfxsoldier said...

http://www.seventeen.com/college/advice/dream-job-visual-effects

A teen girl magazine is recommending they become vfx producers. Perfect timing given that Lucasfilm just lost a lawsuit for firing a woman for getting pregnant.

Anonymous said...

On the bright side, vfxsoldier, Cracked.com recently wrote about the awfulness of working in the VFX industry:

The 5 Miserable VFX Jobs That Make Movies Possible

Steve Hulett said...

Corporations have always been there right next to, often above, American government. The government's interests and corporate interests are one in the same. ...

Why this is so surprising to the descendants of Jamestown is a reflection of how successful an experiment is has been.


Uh, surprising? You didn't read the post too closely, did you?

One of the major ideas running through this blog is that we live in a corporatist state. (Maybe that eluded you.)

There have only been a few times in our history when corporations haven't been ascendant, and it was usually after a large financial dislocation. (Roosevelts #1 and #2, and to a lesser extent the current President.)

American society tends to become volatile when wealth becomes super concentrated (the 1890s, 1920s, and the present era leap to mind.)

Anonymous said...


America has had it's day, and sure the corporate system might have worked 200 years ago, but now it's beginning to run afoul



Please move to another country.

I'd recommend one in Europe because then you will have direct experience with an economy you have just proved you know close to NOTHING about.
Its okay to be stupid, but you shouldn't talk so much.
Wow, are you clueless.

Anonymous said...

because then you will have direct experience with an economy you have just proved you know close to NOTHING about.

Apparently neither do the people who run your country. Have fun bailing out your biggest companies while those execs reap millions in bonuses. Yes, that looks like an awesome system!

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