People > Profits? You bet!September 18, 2014
Workers in Pennsylvania made headlines last week when they walked out of a Chipotle restaurant near Penn State. They left a sign on the door blaming “borderline sweatshop conditions” for their decision to leave and featuring the phrase “People>Profits.” The sign went viral on Twitter and, suddenly, the world was watching.
In an interview, former manager Brian Healy was quoted as saying,”Working conditions are heinous … I’m not trying to take down the Chipotle corporation, I just want to see people treated better. We’re not trying to start a strike or anything like that.”
Really, Mr. Healy? Why not?
If working conditions are so “heinous” that people making less than $10 an hour are willing to give up their livelihood rather than endure them, they’ve got to be pretty horrendous. A single fast-food worker can’t do much to change the system, but a group of them pulling together can. That’s why we have occupational safety laws, and workers shouldn’t be bullied into relinquishing their rights by social pressures that always put profits ahead of the workers who generate them.
Yes, profits are important – you can’t run a business for long without them. But people matter more than money, and workers shouldn’t suffer to put still more money in the pockets of those who have plenty already. You and your colleagues were right that People>Profits, Mr. Healy. Don’t let yourself be pressured into putting that principle aside.
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