AT&T: What Part of “Lunch Break” Do You Not Understand?

From my inbox:

AT&T technicians in Indiana have filed a lawsuit alleging that the company has put “heavy restrictions” on how they can spend their unpaid lunch breaks. The complaint says that while employees can spend unpaid lunch breaks eating in company vehicles, they aren’t allowed to read newspapers, nap, use personal computers, or listen to portable music players, such as iPods. The company also restricts how far workers can go from a job site during their unpaid lunch breaks to less than one-half mile.

No reading newspapers, no listening to music, no writing on computers: your First Amendment at work!

H/t Gordon Lafer


  1. Glenn August 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm | #

    The authoritarian nature of the dictatorship of money capital is on display here for all who will choose to see.

    Are electronic communications also regulated at home and on weekends?

    I received a notice from management that I had no expectation of privacy in electronic and telephone communications using the company’s equipment. I posted, in response, a notice (only in my cubicle) that management had no expectation of privacy from me as I am a shareholder/owner of the company.

    I wonder how my rights as an owner would have held up if push had come to shove? I suspect not well.

    FM-21-78, the “Army Prisoner of War Resistance” manual recommends such actions to form group cohesiveness in oppressive conditions. It is good to keep your captors guessing (If only as to whether they are becoming the butt of a joke) in class war too.

  2. Stephen Zielinski August 17, 2012 at 10:51 am | #

    Private employers are not disciplined by First Amendment Free Speech rules, They are thus free to regulate the speech of their employees and, therefore, discipline those employees whenever they believe they can get away with it.

    But a labor lawyer would need to tell us if employees are labor contract free during an unpaid lunch break.

    • nillionaire August 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm | #

      “Private employers are not disciplined by First Amendment Free Speech rules, They are thus free to regulate the speech of their employees and, therefore, discipline those employees whenever they believe they can get away with it.”

  3. Aliothemage August 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm | #

    I’m from Norfolk, Virginia. I come from a lower middle class home which didn’t have any money to spend on my higher education so I worked and supported myself for 4 years saving up money. I went back to school working part time and earned a 4.0 GPA which earned me my place in the best school in my state which I’m now attending. I’m receiving no govt, charity, or family support and I have enough saved so that I don’t need to work even if I go on to earn my master’s degree.
    Life in the US is a piece of cake and I am thankful for the fantastic western progress that has made this possible!I don’t believe in these leftists Fairy Tailes about “the capitalist oligarchy”(corporations and rich people are not oligarchs,the only oligarchy here is the government BY DEFINITION)because capitalism and free market are all about voluntary market transactions that benefit BOTH involved parties, they wouldn’t occur otherwise.
    But suppose if this “oligarchy” really exist….well I would prefer the US over every other socialist shithole,so long live the oligarchy!long live capitalism!

    • tomecat August 18, 2012 at 1:14 am | #

      I see that you are still in school. Glad to hear that you don’t believe in the “fairy tales” about many corporations. Would love to hear back from you in about 10 years. Voluntary is a matter of perspective. Is it still voluntary if you have to take a job well below your education/experience, but that won’t pay your living expenses, yet you’d starve without it?
      Also, what do you personally know about those socialist “shitholes”? And about which ones are you speaking?

    • August 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | #

      Would you mind telling us some details? What pre-college job did you have which allowed you to save up enough to pay for most of undergrad and all of grad school (and are any of these state schools)? Or did you get ‘charity’ because of your GPA? Your rant is completely unconvincing without specifics. You might be an exception, but most right-libertarians who claim to be utterly self-made have inconsistent facts in their lives, like Ryan’s having lived on social security or Barry Goldwater’s g-father making the Goldwater fortune selling army uniforms to the Feds. Also, what tomecat asked: what do you know about so-called ‘socialist shitholes’? Chances are you don’t know shit about them.

      Another problem: if everyone did what you did, what would a 4.0 GPA mean? Since not everyone is the same (which I would bet is a cherished insight for you, btw.) you aren’t offering a solution to any problem – just patting yourself on the back. Well, good for you, but you have no general plan. You just assert a couple things. Ho hum.

      One of the greatest gifts an education gives is a gradual apprehension of just how little one really *does* know, how much more there is to learn. This doesn’t preclude having convictions, but no well educated person would write what you wrote: you think you have it all figured out already, which is a sure sign that you don’t. If in several years you haven’t re-thought any of this stuff, then your education will have been a waste of money and time, and you should have just kept the job that paid so well as to allow you to save so much.

      • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 25, 2012 at 9:07 am | #

        The self-made nonsense really doesn’t apply to anyone with a standard of living above a Chimpanzee. No living human is responsible for the existence of concrete, plumbing, electricity, domesticated animals… Enjoy your cultural inheritance, but shut the fuck up if you think you built it.

      • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 25, 2012 at 9:14 am | #

        …not to mention steel, bronze, stone tools, fire, *language*… Conservatives love to revel in defiant ignorance of the fact that “it” took tens of thousands of years to build.

        Standing on the shoulders of giants, looking down, and spitting…

    • Freemark August 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm | #

      Why are you going to school? If everything you said is true you were earning well over $60,000 a year without a college education. You appear to be proof that a college education is overrated.

    • Fred Fnord August 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm | #

      “I’m I, I myself I I me my my I’m I’m I I I my!”

      Aliothemage’s first paragraph stripped of all the unimportant words.

    • Glenn August 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm | #

      The Theory of the Leisure Class, by Thorstein Veblen, makes the observation that many lower class people identify most strongly with the upper classes and come off ideologically as conservatives.

      There is more money in collaboration with the wealthy oppressors; and what better way is there to hide and deny your roots than to express indifference and hatred of them? It’s all about getting credible distance from a past that one associates with personal shame.

      I know a few lower-class-originated conservatives, and for all their denunciations of the poor, they remain in fear of falling back in with those from whence they came.

      My advice for them is to keep their lips sealed in the presence of their betters, as they perceive them, because every verbal slip that endears upper class members to each other can be taken as evidence of innate inferiority of you based on your confessed class origin. Your confession comes off as an apology for who you are.

      Good luck with your new pretend identity.

  4. Peter Hovde August 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm | #

    Your “Right to Work” at work!

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