The second season of “Undercover Boss” is well underway and the CEOs, like their first season counterparts, are finding work ‘in the trenches’ to be tough. But are these executives really interested in learning a lesson?
So far this season, we’ve seen Choice Hotels, whose CEO Steve Joyce took a stand against healthcare reform and opposes legislation to protect workers’ rights to form unions. Then there’s DirecTV, the satellite TV giant with a history of blocking its employees’ rights to join a union and bargain collectively across the country. And last night, the show featured Chiquita Brands International, a company that pleaded guilty to illegally funding foreign terrorist organizations in 2007.
There’s no question these corporations need a PR boost, and “Undercover Boss” promises exactly that. It’s less clear what service the show is doing for its supporting cast—the hardworking employees that keep these companies on the road to success.
The reality is that even when their boss has gone ‘undercover’ at a handful of worksites, it typically takes workers’ unions to address workplace problems across the board. Not to mention employers who see their employees not as liabilities, but rather as partners committed to the success of their business.
Believe it or not, that vision isn’t just a pipe dream. Across the country, a growing number of employers are partnering with employees and their unions to tackle the challenges of this tough economic climate. And they’re doing it all with a shared sense of responsibility for the company’s future.