Graphic by Farm Wars

Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

There is a growing trend in this country to treat employees like third-world slave labor – without rights, dignity or any type of respect.

In the United States, there exists a customer service/technical support call center for a popular satellite TV company that shall remain nameless, but if you do the math, I’m sure that you can figure it out. I worked for this company for six months, and it was bearable. That is, until it was purchased by a huge corporation that has its main center in the Philippines.

This is by far the worst company that I have ever worked for. I am still waiting to be paid my last check, which, I was told, is most likely somewhere between Portland and here. Maybe. No real ETA. This company gives new meaning to the term “meat grinder.”

The work was tolerable until the new company took over. Then things took a very steep downhill slide. Our working tools were taken away, all notes that representatives had collected for years with tips and tricks to help people with their systems were deleted, as was our email and chat that we used to communicate with each other for assistance in servicing customers.

We were blind, left in the dark to flounder around, then told that our pay was to be delayed right before the holidays, but not to worry, we could have gift cards for a few hours’ worth of time spent on the job. Some of us could not buy food, much less presents for the holidays.

So, I quit. I gave adequate notice, and almost a week later, am still waiting to be paid. I have been told that the check is on its way.

Is this really what we have allowed to happen in America? Can we all expect to be reduced to third-world living standards without a leg to stand on when the slave-masters decide that they are going to reduce our working conditions and that our pay is up for debate? What is it going to take to turn this around, or are we doomed to lick our masters’ boots as we grovel for pennies?

If the overlords have their way, that is exactly what will happen. In fact, it is happening right now. Every single day. The person whom you call for tech support? That person is most likely working for a “meat grinder” company with no conscience and no real incentive to actually help you, just to sell you more useless stuff and collect more and more money from you while draining its employees of every shred of self-respect and dignity it can.

And the thing that really irks me? They will not pay you to pee. Yup, you’ve got that right. If you have to use the restroom, you have to clock out, hope that the facility at the other end of the building is not being cleaned, hop on  and do your business just as fast as you can, then hurry on back to your desk to clock back in because you will not be paid to use the restroom.

You will also not be paid to sit and wait for calls. It doesn’t matter if you are at work, doing your job. It just matters if you are on the computer, showing that you are “working.”

So, if you ever decide to work for a company such as this, this is what you can expect:

donkey-and-carrot1. A complete disregard for employees

2. To not get paid in full or on time

3. The run around when trying to get answers

4. The expectation of perfection without support

5. Reduction in lines of communication

6. Inadequate tools or training to do the job

7. Blame laid at workers’ feet for failing to live up to standards because of the lack of communication and tools to do the job.

8. Constant push to sell, sell, sell, and if you make a sale? Your coach throws you a piece of candy like a good little puppy

9. No pay for restroom breaks or computer idle time even when you are waiting for a call

It’s clear that Corporate America is finally getting its wet dream fulfilled of sub-class citizen workers, formerly called slaves, who have no choice but to grovel for pitiful wages and working conditions just to make ends meet. Yes, ‘Massa,’ we will do whatever you want. Just don’t fire us cause we have chil’n to feed, and they’s hungry.

©2016 Barbara H. Peterson

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9 Responses to “I C.U.P. inc. – Where employees are paid to work, not pee”

  1. Abe says:

    Customer service. That’s funny!I used Qualstar Credit Union when I lived in Seattle. I actually miss them. They had a real human answer the phone instead of going through the menu and usual BS! It really does get frustrating when you can’t understand a word they’re saying.

    A couple years ago I was using Century Link for my phone. They are complete and total idiots. For some dumb reason they changed my name to some company in Texas. How I still have no idea. I went for 6 months without getting a bill, and when they shut off my phone all I could get was the retards at Century Link just like a cell phone. It was so screwed up it took the guy almost 2 full days to unscrew it. The last time I had good phone service in the last 30 years was when I had Voice Stream before they became T-Mobile.I wrote a really shitty letter to the president of Voice Stream. They repainted the water tower across the street from me and they had all the antennas off for couple months so my calls kept getting. He sent me a rather nice letter back asking what they could do to make me happy? So I sent one back saying I should get 2 months of phone for free, and maybe a couple other months for my troubles. His reply was it’s a done deal and thanks for my patience. Now that I think about it, this was my only pleasant customer service experience. T-Mobile sucks just like the rest now.

    I guess just a glimps of how DC works explains it all. We have a fraud in the white house, a crook running for president instead of in the slammer, perverts everywhere. I hope Trump doesn’t drain the swamp and nukes it instead!

  2. pm says:

    It never ceases to amaze me to listen to libertarians complain about corporations not being allowed to operate as they see fit — due to government oversight and regulation — and then hear them cry when these same corporations are actually allowed to do so.

    Do they really think the corporations would bid wages up and improve their working conditions in a deregulated marketplace? Have the financial overlords ever freely conferred any benefit upon the people?

    I hope that you aren’t one of those libertarians, Barb, that would still cling to this fallacy in spite of your real world experiences.

  3. whiteyward says:

    Capitalism without the Union is slavery.

  4. Visionaerie says:

    This one rings so true! I worked at a place where once they actually did have a camera in the bathroom, but then I think Congressman Paul Simon helped pass a bill to forbid that — or so I heard! One of my fellow employees did call the place a sweatshop. They didn’t even want us to talk to our neighbors, and at the second location, the air was so bad that most people (including me) developed respiratory conditions! They had the windows locked tight and then the trucks would back into the garage so we got that pollution. My friend ended up suing the company and won. Once I got out, I won back my unemployment compensation, but I was sure glad to be relieved! It was always about office politics and focus groups, and never about the workers. I hope their new “facility” is better – I guess it has new management. At least I met a lot of nice people there and we are still good friends. So cherish your loved ones and work for better conditions for everyone — not just the criminally well-connected!!

  5. Beaumont says:

    I am saying this as a charitable, responsible, volunteerist. I have taken initiative, of my own accord, for so long as I can remember.

    Nature probably produces self-actuating people, much in the same ratio as worker bees to queens. I think that it does exist but is not common.

    I think that a rare, few, contrite, conscious people do agree with you, but that the other 99% cannot be elevated above a mob mentality.

    Forcing Enlightenment ideals upon ordinary people is like the square peg and round hole. This era in human history has been like a failed pilot test or social experiment.

    Do you have the same survival instinct as all the other co-workers, who just gave-up.

  6. James Moran says:

    Most of the time you call a credit card or bank or cable/satellite network you get someone in India or Philippines with bad accents. This is most annoying and unfair to American workers. Trump should bring these jobs back to USA!

  7. suss says:

    Ok I understand….. I know virtually every c/s is based overseas…. ebay phone co. cable co. etc. When ever i get an american I always comment to the rep how surprised I am and lament that its surprising and probably a matter of time before their job goes overseas!

  8. Customer service for a number of companies is contracted out to sweatshop call centers. It is the call center that was bought out by a huge center based in the Philippines. For self-protection, I cannot state the name. By the way, ATT bought out DirecTV – the company, not the call center.

  9. suss says:

    Well that isn’t obvious to me? Dish, Direct? which one did a google search and it did not give any info about being bought out or headquartered in philipines…… hate when articles leave you wondering w/ no way to find out! I have dish and would like to know if its them because then I can have empathy for the custamer service providers. Anyway its sad!