A Seat at the Table: Lifting the voices of Americans at work

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Rob Hathorn at the White House

Rob Hathorn shares his story alongside Joe Schmidt, an employee at Market Basket, in the East Room during the White House Summit on Worker Voice on October 7.

Today’s post was shared by the U.S. Labor Department and comes from medium.com.

What kind of investment do you, as a worker, have in the company for which you work? And what kind of an investment does the company have in you?

This article talks about all kinds of useful values when it comes to workplace culture and was based on the White House Summit on Worker Voice.

What values are shared and appreciated in your workplace? And are all included in the discussion? Be sure to read the entire article so you can see the six principles that President Obama laid out to help achieve the goal of shared prosperity for all workers.

All are important for a well-rounded discussion, but I was especially interested in number 3: “If you work hard in America, you should have the right to a safe workplace.”

We see the consequences, on a daily basis, of that particular principle falling short. But businesses can and should do better. I hope they will.

Have a safe and productive day.

Last week, autoworker Rob Hathorn sat in the East Room of the The White House and told his story:

He and his wife and their six year old daughter live in Mississippi, where he works at the Nissan plant in Canton. Rob is a production technician on the frame line, but when he started at the plant, he wasn’t a Nissan employee. Instead, he worked for a contractor, earning less and receiving fewer benefits than the people working right next to him. After two years, he was able to transition to being a Nissan employee, but only as a so-called “PermaTemp,” a permanent, temporary employee and an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. That means he earns $14 an hour, and the highest he can ever earn is $18.35. Full-time Nissan employees working alongside him doing the same job earn $24 an hour. He would have to work 70 hours to earn the same amount that some of his coworkers earn in 40. He has to train workers who earn more than him to do the same job.

Sitting next to Rob in the East Room was Joe Schmidt, the operations supervisor for Market Basket — a New England regional grocery chain that made national headlines last year when employees up and down the chain of command — from baggers and warehouse stockers to long-tenured managers — walked off the job to protest the firing of their beloved CEO. I asked Joe what would happen if there were two people working side-by-side at Market Basket, performing the same tasks, but one earned just a fraction…

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The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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