By Gertrude Ezorsky
Publication via Ezorsky, Gertrude
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Extra info for Moral Rights in the Workplace
Dull, repetitive, seemingly meaningless tasks, offering little challenge or autonomy, are causing discontent among workers at all occupational levels. This is not so much because work itself has greatly changed; indeed, one of the main problems is that work has not changed fast enough to keep up with the rapid and wide-scale changes in worker attitudes, aspirations, and values. A general increase in their educational and economic status has placed many American workers in a position where having an interesting job is now as important as having a job that pays well.
So I go on into the production area, where the day shift is still working. . Everyone has on white plastic aprons and head-deforming hair-nets. Tired, sweaty people. Their glazed eyes scan me and then move on to the clock. Tufts of what look like cotton stick out of most ears, and I understand why as I move into the first room and noise engulfs me: the rattle of conveyors and chuff-sigh of a big pneumatic packing machine, and the whining hum of many motors, and a major roaring from a device that is vacuum-cleaning jarswhich are themselves hustling and clinking on the conveyors like a million glass chickens.
Note that in this case their employers constitute the majority of the community. This majority wants to continue paying the cleaning women the same miserable wages. Thus, in an impartial calculation of everyone's preferences, the policy that favors the exploitation of these women wins out. Yet the women surely have a moral right to decent pay and working conditions. Some philosophers might put the matter this way: There are good and bad preferences. Exploitation of these women is bad, no matter how many people prefer it.