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Ask Slashdot: When Does Time Tracking at Work Go Too Far? 630

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-time-is-our-time dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I work in a call center, full time, for a large mail order pharmacy. Recently, as part of their campaign to better track time spent both at and away from our desks, they have started tracking bathroom breaks. They use a Cisco phone system, and there is now a clock out option that says 'Bathroom.' My question is whether or not this is in any way acceptable in a large corporate environment (Around 800 people work at this same pharmacy) and is it even legal? How invasive would this really be considered, and beyond privacy concerns, how are they going to deal with the humiliation that their employees feel as a result of this? Has this happened to any of you?"
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Ask Slashdot: When Does Time Tracking at Work Go Too Far?

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  • Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:20AM (#41351837)

    You need a union. It's the only way to fix this kind of thing.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leromarinvit (1462031) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:22AM (#41351853)

    You need a union. It's the only way to fix this kind of thing.

    This. So much this. You don't have to put up with this bullshit. And it will only get worse unless you fight back.

  • Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsam (12205) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:24AM (#41351869) Homepage

    Time to start sending out resumes.

  • Honestly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmacleod808 (729707) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:24AM (#41351871)
    Get another job. You are just being treated like cattle and there is NOTHING you can do. If you were to sue, they will find some reason to fire you. If you were to Unionize, there would be massive layoffs. In my company, I don't clock in, I don't clock out, I can work 5 hours per week overtime without approval. And I work for a fortune 300 company who you think would be soulless. I see how our CSRs are treated, and it is a damn sight better than anywhere else. And we have metrics in the upper 90% range for hold times (Less than 90 seconds) and call backs. Customer first will always make you profitable.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmacleod808 (729707) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:26AM (#41351883)
    Unions will results in layoffs. Corporations will not just accept lower profits because their labor unionizes, they will layoff (Or go to India or the Philippines) until the costs are back in line to where they were.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:28AM (#41351895)

    and to fight back, any attempt at a layoff causes ALL the workforce to strike.

    THAT is why you have a union. 100% that.

    its high time we bring back unions. corps have shown they are not good at self-managing and self-policing. left alone, they will squeeze you dry. they used to! study your history!!

  • don't overthink it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:29AM (#41351903)

    You're in a call center, so when you get up today, you already have to hit something to stop receiving calls that were in queue. I would say the purpose of that button is to separate out a bit more detail on the reporting side vs, checking up on individuals. I came from a prior call-center environment, on the backend network/telephony team, and having to "check-in/out" each time you walk away from the phone/cube was normal. This was a 600 person call center, also healthcare.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmacleod808 (729707) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:29AM (#41351907)
    Until the United States passes union laws, this will just result in the entire workforce being laid off and non - union talent being hired. There are plenty of people who want a job.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:37AM (#41351961)

    Exactly. The right has demonized unions while ignoring that they level the playing field between an employee and an employer. Without them, you get abuses like this. That doesn't mean that a union needs to drive a business into the ground. Typically they both understand that a strong business means a strong profit means a strong workforce. If things get unbalanced too much to one side, you end up with either corrupt management, or a company that goes out of business.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:38AM (#41351967)
    If you care about your rights, working in a call center is not the right job for you. Only drones can tolerate it for long. It seems you have hit your limit, so go take a permanent bathroom break and find yourself a new job.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Karlt1 (231423) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:39AM (#41351983)

    Hate to say it but it's not a highly technical job. If people start complaining they just outsource to India.

  • by pjt33 (739471) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:40AM (#41351997)

    How do you know the question asker isn't in Canada? They seem to assume that all /. readers are also mind readers who can answer "Is this legal?" without being told which jurisdictions are relevant.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:49AM (#41352055)

    and then we need to counter that with laws (and tax codes) that, uhm, 'motivate' against such anti-american behavior.

    I'd be all for it.

    since corp ethics is on 'perma vacation', we need some teeth in the law system to stop this kind of continuing bad corp behavior.

    if we don't take care of our own people, we will slip into being a 2nd world country. you want that??

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leromarinvit (1462031) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:50AM (#41352059)

    The idea migt be shocking to you, but there's nothing wrong with having a union even when things are going well. When labor laws are being violated, you need a union that can draw support from and build upon an established base, so it is actually able to act. Just starting to build one then seems a tad late.

  • by upuv (1201447) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:58AM (#41352139) Journal

    Most countries this is 100% legal. They can also listen in on all phone conversations work related or not. They can also place a video camera pointed at your face from 1 foot away.

    Is it good for the people working there. NOPE.
    Does it instil a sense of corporate loyalty. NOPE.

    I've been through these call centres. I feel depressed just entering the floor. It's a cattle station with better flooring.

    Get a trade, skill, education, anything and move on out.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pseudonym (62607) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:58AM (#41352143)

    You unionize when labor laws are obviously being violated.

    You get a lawyer when labor laws are obviously being violated. You unionise when you want to negotiate with management on behalf of the workforce as a whole, not just on behalf of yourself.

    You also unionise when labor laws which don't yet exist (but should) are being violated. The law is often behind technology, so there will always be a place for this.

  • by JustOK (667959) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:03AM (#41352173) Journal

    They should use the same methods for tracking management and the employees.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:08AM (#41352213)

    Because organized labor is detrimental to the economy and a joke. If you can't make yourself valuable to your employer on your own merits without these sort of government-backed or thug-backed coercive tactics, you really don't deserve the job, and the corporation in question shouldn't be required to pay you more than you're actually worth to them in market terms. All that does is make the corporation less competitive with other global players, which is bad for our economy. (And yes, I apply the same logic to things like trade/tariff protectionism and corporate tax breaks that prop up domestic industries - bottom line: companies need to be self-sufficient and profitable on their own merits, and so do their employees, or the whole economy's headed for the shitter).

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:20AM (#41352293)

    What a terrible first response. I mean fucking, stupidly, terrible. You don't unionize over a few bad practices, probably put in place by a stupid manager. You unionize when labor laws are obviously being violated.

    There is a distinct issue here of medical privacy that is most likely being violated. Tracking bathroom visits could be a way for someone to infer you have a medical condition.

    What you should do is seek an attorney who will look at this pro bono. They will probably tell you to start with your HR department with a complaint. It's all about the paper trail.

    I will never understand how the political and moneyed classes in the USA managed to convince the working man in that country that unions are the spawn of Satan. While I can see the problem when unions becoming lazy and corrupt I don't really see what is wrong with the vast majority of them who are properly run. I have been a union member all of my professional life. I prefer to have a union behind me to foot the bill if I have to take my employer to court as opposed to the situation in the US where you are frequently up shit creek without a paddle if your employer decides to crap all over you. Another service I get from my a union is legal advice regarding employment contracts. One of the many things the engineers union I am a member of offers to for it's members is to have a legal professional read over your employment contract and point out to you legal land mines your employer sometimes builds into those things like draconian clauses about IP ownership, anti competition stuff and requirements that you relinquish the right to take them to court in favour of private arbitration (no prizes for guessing who gets to choose the arbitrator). It's easy to abuse a single person, it's a whole lot harder for employers to abuse 100.000 of you standing together.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:24AM (#41352321)
    OR... you could just find a new job.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:33AM (#41352389) Homepage Journal

    I will never understand how the political and moneyed classes in the USA managed to convince the working man in that country that unions are the spawn of Satan.

    With an enormous amount of assistance from the unions themselves, of course,which have managed to be coopted at various times by the Mafia, the Communist Party, and just plain old-fashioned graft.

    Unions continue to do some good things - in particular, I think the delivery drivers' union approach to multi-company pensions is a great idea if you can trust the people who run it not to loot it. But you also have to understand that American labor law is not like that of other countries, and in particular takes the adversarial system used in the courtroom and generally applies it to labor-management relationships. In the US, there are trade associations that offer the same services your union does for a flat fee rather than a cut of every check.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by puto (533470) <theflatline@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:35AM (#41352399) Homepage
    i have been a member of the CWA for years, and about the only thing i have ever gotten out of them was a bag of popcorn, a pen that doesnt work, and dues taken out of my paycheck. Also union stewards who always agree with management. Back when I worked at Bellsouth we had 3 minute toilet breaks, and they had a speaker in the fucking bathroom and if your dump took over 3 minutes they would call out to you.
  • Re:eat a lot.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:36AM (#41352403)

    You'll eventually see that people in your apartment spend a LOT of time "asking questions/helping customers" and almost nobody has to poop anymore.

    And you've just discovered the REAL purpose of rolling something like this out. Anyone mgmt likes (hotties, brownnosers, relatives, etc) will ignored when they falsify records, but anyone they want to get rid of (wrong race, wrong church, wrong political party, whatever) will be fired with cause due to documented fraud resulting in no unemployment benefits because they were falsifying timesheet documents by taking a dump instead of "asking questions". I mean they'd got a timesheet showing you were "asking a question" and a avi file from the security cameras clearly showing you walk into the bathroom, it seems an open and shut case?

    This also goes higher level than just employee. Now any team lead / supvr / manager can be disciplined at any time for allowing the falsification to happen ... or perhaps not disciplined ... depending on how much the boss of the lead / supvr / mgr likes the victims race, church, political party, etc.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:05AM (#41352613)

    This is the real evil of overly draconian regulations or laws. Sure, the subjects can choose to ignore them, and the authorities can choose not to enforce them -- but the authorities can also choose to enforce them, at their own discretion, and with no apparent legal recourse for those they single out. As far as I can tell, "everybody else was doing it" is not a valid defense.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:11AM (#41352669)

    When employers start tracking restroom time in such a way, I think the intent is to embarrass the employee in order to cut down on restroom time. Instead of having a clock-out labeled as "bathroom", don't you think it'd be better to have the clock-out labeled as something else?

    Are restroom breaks paid or unpaid where this asker is located? If unpaid, how about labeling it as "personal break" where an employee can use the restroom, take a cigarette break, or just stretch and walk around after sitting for a long while?

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) * on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:13AM (#41352691) Homepage Journal

    No, the solution has to be government interference of some kind. There is no world government (thankfully), but the downside is that nobody mandates fair trade or labor practices between countries. That's up to the countries themselves.

    Consider an example under way right now in the solar panel industry. Domestic solar panel makers build factories that cost $10 million dollars to produce panels that cost $5,000 each. A Chinese factory with a leftover billion dollar chip factory (they upgraded to a $10 billion dollar factory to make state of the art chips) now starts making solar panels much more efficiently and with much cheaper labor, for $1,000 per panel. Domestic makers can't compete and will soon go out of business. Chinese factory will raise prices to $10,000 per panel. Domestic consumers will then be paying twice the price of domestic solar panels for foreign imports. Everyone in the U.S. knows that if a new domestic maker tries to enter the market to sell $4,000 panels, the Chinese will lower the price to $1,000 until the domestic factory is out of business, then raise them back to $10,000.

    That's monopolistic behavior, and would be illegal under the Sherman Act. Under current trade practices, it's perfectly legal for the Chinese to do it.

    There is no way to compete in a global market when domestic producers have to follow domestic laws that do not apply outside our borders. And those domestic laws are there to prevent domestic companies from doing exactly the same thing, which we already agree is bad for all consumers.

    The answer is punitive tariffs, (aka government interference.) We shouldn't try to balance everything out and derive a "fair price" for solar panels, and tax the Chinese solar panels until they're competitive with domestic solar panels. We should look at the behavior in this case, and say "you profited at $10,000 panels, you drove an American company out of business with $1,000 panels, the tax on all imported panels is now $10,000 and the tax on all solar panels from China is now punitively set at $20,000." If we do this in every case where industries practice dumping on us, the Chinese will get very mad at the factory owners who keep trying to screw the U.S., and will take care of the problem internally. Meanwhile, the $10,000 tax will prevent gray market panels from China making an end-run through other countries. And in the U.S., domestic companies will be free to compete with each other for our business, selling panels at fair domestic prices of $5,000 or $4,000.

    We're never going to take care of our own people until we protect them.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:14AM (#41352697)

    I will never understand how the political and moneyed classes in the USA managed to convince the working man in that country that unions are the spawn of Satan.

    It wasn't necessarily the political and moneyed classes that did it. I too see the necessity of unions, but I hope never to have to belong to one. Why? As a contractor who sometimes does work in factories and mines, I have seen first hand the greed, pettiness, laziness, and sense of entitlement that union shops often breed. When one union member files a grievance because an outside contractor is holding a nut into which another union member is turning a bolt, because 'a union employee should be doing that work', (even though there was no union employee immediately available to hold the nut), then unionism is going too far. When work is halted because a light bulb is burned out, (and we're talking about the screw-in kind, within easy reach), because changing the bulb is 'an electrician's job' and the electrician doesn't show up for an hour, the union isn't doing itself any favours. And when union employees *regularly* take 45 minutes to do an easy job that only requires 5 or 10 minutes even for an inexperienced person, then the union is shooting itself in the foot. In too many union shops, demonstrating efficiency, initiative, and overall competence is enough for an employee to be shunned, threatened, or even physically harmed, by his or her 'brothers' and 'sisters' - never mind the union grievance process.

    Politically I am fairly far left of centre; I despise the power that corporations have and the abuses they commit, and I'm all for strict government regulation whose invasiveness increases with the size and power of the corporation. For that reason I am in favour of unions. But I also believe in an honest day's work for a day's pay, and I believe that I should be free to work as efficiently and intelligently as I can, without fear of union reprisals, whether official or unofficial. For that reason, I hate unions that abuse the power they have.

    In many cases unions are their own worst enemies, pure and simple

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:15AM (#41352705) Journal

    Since I am neither bad, nor lazy, I often make a considerable amount more than my coworkers. Even those who supposedly have the same title and more seniority. If I don't like the job, the environment, or my boss, I can always leave and go somewhere else.

    Ditto, but I've also spent 15yrs on the other side of town where unions are often all that's between you and the gutter, doesn't matter how good you are at swinging a mop, without unions there are a hundred more who will do it cheaper.

    You seem to think that unions are there to protect lazy people? - Have you have actually tried raising a family while wearing a blue color? Do you have callouses on your hands from all your "hard work"? Do realize that when people call you a "suit", it's not a sign of respect?

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:20AM (#41352745) Homepage

    You also unionise when labor laws which don't yet exist (but should) are being violated.

    Also, you unionize to combat unfair treatment that can't be addressed very well by laws. Like maybe you don't want to make it illegal for anyone to work 60 hour weeks, but maybe in this case, with this company, given the kind of working being done and the amount being paid, 60-hour work weeks aren't really fair.

    It's funny to me how you get free-market types who argue that the free-market is better because it's more flexible and able to deal with context, but then they don't think it's appropriate to complain about legal behavior. So the argument might be, "We shouldn't have laws restricting the numbers of hours that a person can work in a week, because it's too hard to measure what's fair, and not all jobs are equal, and maybe some people *want* to work 60 hours per week. If people don't like working 60 hours per week, then they won't take jobs that require it." Or whatever, something along those lines.

    But then the employees get together and say, "We don't want to work 60 hours per week. We're going to unionize and renegotiate."

    Then suddenly the argument becomes, "Whoa whoa! You have no right to complain to renegotiate! I'm not doing anything illegal. I should be able to exploit everyone as much as I can until I do something illegal."

    Then if you suggest that you create a new law to restrict the number of hours a person can work in a week, it drops back to, "Oh, you communists! This stuff should be handled by the market. If people don't want to work 60 hours, they can just quit their jobs."

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bibliophage (779642) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:33AM (#41352861) Homepage

    I've never understood the free market argument against unions. Unions are a *function* of the free market. They fit in the role of consumers (of employment) who want to have some control over the product they buy (the work they do). If the free market provided everything the employees need/want, no one would want to unionize.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:53AM (#41353053)
    Right. So unions are always a bad thing..., because of your limited experience. See: provincialism. When you've finished learning why your argument is bullshit, please take the time to study some history, and learn why your premise is bullshit as well. There was a time, not that long ago, when working conditions, virtually everywhere, were nowhere near what they are now. The only thing that made that change was unionization and laws that allowed them to exist.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @12:32PM (#41353363) Homepage

    The unions are just another set of corporations. They're not about protecting workers, they're about using workers to make their officers rich and powerful.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlippyToad (240532) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:04PM (#41353623)

    as I said, accounts like yours makes me confused.

    Well, it could be that he's trolling on behalf of the anti-union folks in this country who would just as soon see us return to slave labor, and his account is bullshit meant to terrify people who know nothing about unions into avoiding them at all costs.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:09PM (#41353661)

    corps have huge power.

    unions are there to balance it.

    balance is needed.

    no one said anything about either side being a perfect entity. ideally, unions should neutralize the abuse in business and business should act well enough to its work force that union force is not needed.

    if there is only 1 side, its not balanced.

    time has shown, that workers without a focused voice, are ignored. do you deny that?

    simply let the employers police themselves? you think that works?

    unions are not perfect but they DO give at least some balance.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ukemike (956477) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:11PM (#41353669) Homepage

    I was about to hook up our ohm meter one time before I knew the "rules" and was told I would have a grievance filed against me.

    This sort of behavior is like a histamine reaction and it does not happen in isolation. It is an overreaction to a minor insult brought on by a historically learned need to be protective of their jobs. There are many tools that management can use to attempt to undermine unions. One technique is to hire non-union employees or contractors to do the sort of work that the unionized employees typically do. Over time you can reduce the size of the union you are dealing with until they become irrelevant. In workplaces where this has been attempted the union workers will tend to get very protective of the work they are supposed to do. The arrogance of doing work intentionally slowly probably has it's roots is some other bit of adversarial relationship with the employer.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:37PM (#41353897) Homepage

    Unions would be okay if they were subject to the same market forces as their employers. But they're not, they're protected by reams of labour law. Unions are allowed to monopolize labour in an industry and force anti-competitive security agreements, which would be considered anti-competitive and illegal in any other contract.

    Consider the infamous 'right-to-work' states. What does being a 'right-to-work' state mean? It means unions can't compel people to join. In Germany, for example, the decision to join a union is considered an individual decision, and workers have an equal right to join or not join a union; the right to free association, means you're also free not to associate if you don't want to. But if you disagree with your union in Michigan and want to opt out, good luck making that legal argument.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:39PM (#41353913) Homepage

    Don't worry, your union dues are well appreciated by the politicians your union supports in your name.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:49PM (#41353995)

    Way to mischaracterize. Most people are not anti-union but anti *taxpayer* union. They don't see why they should have to pay for bus drivers, subway engineers and other taxpayer-supported government jobs for early retirement at age 55, plus guaranteed right not to be fired even if they suck (instead the worker is placed on paid probation for years and years). People are tired of their taxpayer dollars being used to give better jobs than they have.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:58PM (#41354077) Journal
    I know a guy who was a dues paying union member, and his boss fired him unfairly. The union did nothing (it was an AT&T union, which has a bad reputation).

    Later, in another job, he wasn't a union member, and the manager started pushing them all to work ridiculously long hours. He got together with his coworkers in the division, and enacted a slowdown, giving the manager the worst numbers in the entire company. After that the manager stopped pushing them to work unfair hours. He did better as a union without an official union than with an official union.

    So unions in the general are a good idea, but specific implementations can be trash. In the US, the unfortunate reality is most unions aren't very good. A lot of times they do protect lazy people. I've heard the situation is better in countries like the UK, and I would believe Australia as well.
  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @02:53PM (#41354615) Homepage

    There is a flip-side to that and it is management-speak. For example, the maintenance guy who wouldn't change the oil in the manager's personal vehicle is 'not a team player'. The guy who filed a complaint about the rickety ladder with the broken rung is 'a disruptive influence'. The guy who actually expects to be paid for the hours he works is 'goofing off'. Because of that, the unions make it hard to fire people for those things. Unfortunately it also makes it hard to fire people who actually should be fired.

    For every union where someone militantly refuses to let the assembly line run 0.01% faster than the contract states, there is a management that tried to boil the frog by slowly speeding up the line.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @03:15PM (#41354893)

    Um, yes you do. Where the hell did you ever get the idea that the USA is a "free country", or that there's freedom of assembly here? Did you never hear of "free speech zones"? In case you didn't know, it's now illegal [reason.com] to protest anywhere the Secret Service may be; taking part in a protest against the government will now make you a felon and earn you a 10-year prison sentence.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kalriath (849904) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:00PM (#41357369)

    This may surprise you, but in nations that aren't the US (that haven't been brainwashed by their corporations) unions exist, run well, and exist to serve the members not themselves (and are in fact required to by law). And businesses run just fine with unions - even getting along quite well with them most of the time (contract renegotiation time notwithstanding). And you know what? The nations haven't "fallen into the cesspool known as communism" or even "[fallen into] ruin".

    Stop listening to Fox News and actually do some research prior to making yourself look stupid.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:02PM (#41357379)

    Try peacefully assembling just about anyplace in the USA now. You'll have paramilitary troops (we call them "police") arresting you, tasing you, macing you, and beating you. Youtube [youtube.com] is full of videos of such incidents.

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