Posts Tagged ‘Undercover Boss’

Undercover Boss: Pro-worker TV or Corporate PR?

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. Read more »


Undercover Boss conceals truth about DirecTV

world's worst boss mugIf you weren’t busy cheering on the gangsters of Boardwalk Empire last Sunday (like one very enthusiastic American Rights at Work blogger), perhaps you saw the newest episode of CBS’s Undercover Boss. This week’s featured company was DirecTV, a national broadcast satellite service.

In the episode, DirecTV President and CEO Mike White went undercover in his own company where he “discovered” that employees are spending their own money for requisite supplies and for equipment failures that are out of their control.

Unfortunately, that kind of disregard for employees and their rights isn’t an isolated incident at the company.  DirecTV has a history of unionbusting and mistreating their workers, which Undercover Boss decided didn’t make for interesting television.

In some states, such as Georgia and Florida, DirecTV hired the notorious unionbusting firm Bell and Associates to try and prevent its workers from exercising their right to form a union with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). And across the country, the company gets around providing benefits such as overtime compensation for DirecTV installers by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Is it any wonder why DirecTV is facing no less than six class action lawsuits from employees?

Check out this interview with Mark Smith, a call center worker at DirecTV’s Missoula facility, who was fired for attempting to form a union.


Going Beyond Undercover Boss

With the economic recovery and job growth stagnating despite record profits on Wall Street, CEOs in this country could use a wake-up call. But instead of a wake up call, the second season of CBS’ “Undercover Boss” is more like a thiny-veiled public relations campaign for featured companies.

Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce, who has publicly opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, was the focus of last night’s premiere episode. Joyce got a first hand look at how his hotels operate from the perspective of Choice employees, and was surprised at just how demanding work in the hotel industry can be—both physically and mentally. And as Joyce quickly realized, these workers aren’t just numbers on a payroll statement. They are real people, with individual struggles, families, and career aspirations of their own. Read more »