a-mutiny.jpgThere is something going on around the globe and it smacks of a worker revolt.

Battered by layoffs and cuts in promised pay and benefits, a growing number of employees are saying “No! You’re not going to treat us like yesterday’s trash any longer.”

A group of workers at the famed Waterford Crystal factory in Kilbarry, Ireland, were told they were out of jobs when the plant shut its door in January. Instead of heading home to cry in their beers, employees stormed the factory gates, overtook the security guards and are now occupying the facility.

From the New York Times today:

Like the employees of the Waterford Crystal factory here, which ceased operating in January, you can go to your workplace, occupy the building and refuse to leave.

“We said, ‘You’re not going to stop people from coming to the place they’ve worked all their lives, where their family worked, and where they have built up the brand themselves,’ ” said Tony Kelly, 51, describing how a crowd of angry employees prevailed on security guards at the headquarters to unlock the front doors and let them in, on Jan. 30.

Sounds familiar? In December, hundreds of workers from Republic Windows & Doors were abruptly fired without notice and without their promised vacation pay.

The employees staged a sit-in at the Chicago plant to protest their former employer’s actions, and to everyone’s surprise, they got were they were owed, and also ended up getting jobs with the new owner.

And this fervor of worker sick-and-tiredness goes beyond just hourly workers.

Retired salaried employees at auto parts manufacturer Delphi, in bankruptcy now, felt they got the shaft when their former employer decided it wanted to cut promised health care coverage to 15,000 of its workers. In response, the retirees formed a coalition to fight for what they’re owed.

A bankruptcy judge has sided with the company but the retirees have appealed the ruling and a decision is expected today, according to HR trade publication
Workforce Management magazine.

It’s unclear whether Delphi’s retirees or the workers in Ireland will win their fight, but these pockets of protest may point to a growing desire among workers to not take cost-cutting measures that destroy employee livelihoods lying down.

What if workers en masse started questioning layoffs, benefit cuts and plant closures? What if they took matter into their own hands?

Right now, things just happen to so many employees. I get endless letters from readers who are beaten down and disgusted.

Is there anything they can do? Some workers are turning to mutiny, not just waiting for the Captain Bligh’s of corporations to suddenly become nice guys and treat them with respect.

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