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PlaidStallion: Chico, don’t be discouraged,
The Man he ain't so hard to understand.
Chico, if you try now,
I know that you can lend a helping hand.
Don’t forget the big picture.
That’s why the stick, not just the carrot, must always be present, and the biggest stick of all is the threat of dismissal. Employers crave the power to fire workers whose performance is judged inferior – not just to be rid of those particular workers, but more importantly to motivate and discipline the rest of the workforce. Indeed, in the eyes of the boss, provisions limiting their power to fire indiscriminately are among the most hated features of union contracts; by the same token, winning some protection against arbitrary dismissal is one of the greatest benefits of belonging to a union. But to make the threat of job loss meaningful, several conditions must be met:
Employers must have the legal and contractual right to fire staff. Even if they don’t use that power often, it has to be there (to motivate frightened workers).
Employers have to be able to distinguish well-performing workers from undesirable workers. So employers spend heavily on supervision and monitoring systems – everything from shop-floor supervisors looking over workers’ shoulders, to sophisticated electronic monitoring technologies (which can measure the speed of cashiers and typists, spy on telephone and e-mail conversations, and track the precise location of drivers and couriers).
Losing one’s job must impose a major cost on fired workers, so that the fear of being fired elicits the desired discipline and compliance. The out-of-pocket loss that a fired worker incurs is called the COST OF JOB LOSS. It depends on several variables: how long they can expect to be unemployed (before finding another job), what (if anything) they receive in unemployment insurance benefits while they are jobless, and how the wages and benefits at their new job compare to what they earned in their old job.