BossFeed: Manufacturing dissent

The week in work: obedience, pregnancy, prayer, a pig, an alligator, and a possum.

Paying their last respect

Managers expect silent obedience from employees they consider to be of low status. And employees generally demonstrate this kind of fealty, understanding that their jobs can be on the line if they don’t. But change that calculation by announcing an impending plant closure and the patterns of authority break down fast.

And now you can experience it yourself in this tall-screen video of the rowdy staff meeting where management announces to employees they are shutting down production and moving it overseas. In a terrible situation for workers losing their livelihoods, there's one heartening bit: hearing the exasperated confusion in the voice of the Figure of Authority as people just stop paying him the respect he likely never deserved, but has always extracted.

Anyone think it’s a good idea for your boss to be guessing if you’re pregnant?

It’s the opposite of your employer letting you take a sick day when you’re sick. Big companies are now hiring benefit managers to crunch individual data on prescription drugs, shopping habits, credit scores and even voter records to help identify workers with specific health risks, like diabetes, weight loss, and back problems. In order to minimize costs, of course.

One data-mining company hired by big employers even attempts to predict pregnancy with an algorithm which analyzes insurance claims for unfilled birth-control prescriptions, logs fertility-related health app searches, and considers other inputs like age of ovaries, ages of any other children, and more. If they think they’re found a likely pregnancy, they send the creepiest possible category of notification message: unsolicited tips on prenatal care and choosing an obstetrician. From your employer-paid healthcare provider. When you haven't told anyone you were pregnant.

To change the things you cannot accept

For many months, observant Muslim employees at a Minnesota snowblower and lawnmower factory had been permitted to leave the production line briefly for daily prayers. But then the company suddenly put that to a halt, reportedly because there were “too many” Muslim employees, and therefore prayers were slowing down production. In response, 53 workers stayed home for three days in protest. Fourteen eventually resigned, some relented, and others returned to work but continued to pause for prayers. Seven were eventually fired for it.

Civil rights advocates report that many employers have made accommodations for prayers for many years (and that workers typically offer to clock out for it, so the direct cost can actually be negative ), but something seems to be changing in the national mood. Curiously, day-long shutdowns for Christian holidays have never been seen as a critical efficiency issue.

That’s politics

An unnamed 600-pound pig attempted to vote in the New Hampshire primary, waiting patiently outside the door of a polling location in Pelham, NH during voting hours. However, he never received a ballot and was returned to the custody of his owner without the Presidential preference of either party being revealed.

A Florida man accused of tossing an alligator into a Wendy’s drive-thru window has been ordered to avoid contact with all animals besides his mother’s dog, and to stay out of all Wendy’s restaurants. Much like Seattle’s minimum wage law, this order apparently holds regardless of who technically owns the franchise.

And after a possum was found having made a home in an Australian park's toilet paper dispenser, it was evicted from its unauthorized encampment by a "cleaning crew". Authorities claim it has been relocated to better accommodations, but it’s not clear why everybody is talking about were the possum belongs, except the possum itself.