You may love your job. You may love your boss. But if your boss has a problem with you getting the money you deserve, then the friendly boss is not your friend.
At the University of Washington, a group of professors is seeking to unionize the faculty. Their aim, the Seattle Times reports, is not just to seek better wages and working conditions, but also to enable professors to more effectively lobby their elected officials on behalf of the state’s beleaguered higher education budget. In other words, they seek the quite straightforward goal of being able to improve their own position—and (if you believe in the value of higher education) the public good, in the process.
The University’s president—the faculty’s boss—is not so hot on the idea of them banding together to protect their own interests. In a letter, the school’s leadership warned that (although, of course, they are big supporters of unions in general) they have “grave reservations” about this faculty union, because it would undermine the outstanding relationship that the school and the faculty already have, and besides, things have been going quite well, from the perspective of the bosses.
The boss, a good friendly soul, has a different idea than the worker about what the worker needs to be happy. At Notre Dame University, which has $10 billion in its bank account, football players bring in around $80 million in revenue per year. Those players, who come mostly from low income families, are unpaid for their risky work. The school’s president, Rev. John Jenkins, feels that paying them would be grotesque. “Our relationship to these young people is to educate them, to help them grow,” he tells the New York Times. “Not to be their agent for financial gain.”
It’s funny, isn’t it, how well-paid (and certainly well-meaning) bosses have peculiar ideas about how important it is for low-paid (or no-paid) people to make more money? The good Rev. Jenkins, a godly millionaire, believes that working for the direct “financial gain” of young men who risk their health in order to make their school $80 million per year would be somehow contrary to their personal growth. Meanwhile, food costs money. It’s hard to grow if you can’t buy enough of it.
The University of Washington’s president Ana Mari Cauce, who has been lauded for her “sense of justice,” is comfortably ensconced in the top 1% income bracket. And yet she lectures faculty members who are paid much, much less about how the mandate for “shared governance” is more important than their right to organize in the workplace, despite the demonstrated ability of unions to help working people earn more money.
These bosses—and your boss—may be very friendly. But it is hard to call them friends. A friend, I imagine, would like to see you fairly compensated for your work.
Those who are already comfortably wealthy tend to regard money as a corrupting influence. That does not apply to their own money—only to yours.