Every worker has been disciplined at work. Everything from being called out about something in front of other people to being fired. The ways that the bosses find to make us feel like shit, especially in the food industry, where I work, would be genius if they weren’t so funked up.
The sad part is that most of us are trained just to take it – to “work harder.” Or at most, we quit, thinking this is our only option. When in some cases this is what the boss wanted all along. A worker who they want gone is much less of a head-ache for them if they quit on their own. Our best defense against the bosses is solidarity. That is, you and your fellow workers standing up together against the bosses. This has many effects. It helps protect against the boss disciplining someone who shouldn’t be by having wittiness present. It shows the boss that they can’t single workers out for attack. But perhaps the best affect is that it gives the workers themselves a sense of togetherness or solidarity. That they are there for each other and it shows other workers who are there but not participating: either out of fear or for some other reason, the power of solidarity.
In most cases solidarity doesn’t just happen. It takes some organization. A lot of time a worker does not know ahead of time that a disciplinary action is coming. There can be a lot involved in organizing a union, but you can start just by talking to your fellow workers. If you can get several workers to come together and talk then the chances are pretty good that common problems at work will come up.
Sometimes they may require some agitation. People have different definitions of that word. What I mean by it, in this context, is: agitating someone is showing them that a problem they have is not a small little problem and that it is really everyone’s problem.
To clarify further, we, as workers, can relate to many problems at work. Low pay, not enough say in our working conditions, too few hours, too many hours, not paying over-time, etc. However, while many workers see these things as a problem they don’t see them as that big of a deal and they tend to individualize them and not see themas universal. Agitation is one of the simplest and most difficult challenges we face. Ideally, showing fellow workers how problems they face are problems that we as workers all face can have a profound effect.
So simply talking to your fellow workers and listening to what their problems are and uniting workers against these common problems can prepare the way for concerted action against unwarranted disciplinary action and other attacks by the bosses.