Here’s how workers would spend the corporate tax cut – if they had a voice – Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Prof. Thomas Kochan

From The Conversation

Over 200 CEOs have said they will raise wages or give bonuses as a result of the large corporate income tax cut passed late last year by Congress.

Some view their plans as simply a public relations move, others as a response to tighter labor markets or worker pressures. Pretty much everyone hopes that it might signal a new era in which corporate leaders share earnings with workers in ways they have not done in the past.

I’m among those who hold such a hope. Only if such profit sharing becomes the norm will the long-term trends in widening income inequality and wage stagnation be reversed.

But why should this decision be left to CEOs? Don’t workers have a legitimate claim and stake in what is done with the profits they help produce? New research I’ve been leading at MIT finally gives workers a voice on these issues and many others.

In search of a voice

So far, apart from some statements by union leaders, the workforce itself has been silent about the new tax law – which among other things cut the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent – and how the extra money that will end up in corporate coffers should be spent.

Perhaps this is because, by and large, they have lost their voice at work as unions have declined and Wall Street’s voices have ascended and become more dominate in corporate decision making.

That’s one of the key findings of a study we are conducting, which asks a nationally representative sample of American workers how much of a voice they feel they ought to have on workplace issues and the amount of say or influence they actually experience on their jobs. We found that there are large voice gaps across a range of worker concerns and that they are largest on basic economic issues of compensation and benefits, promotions and job security.

For example, more than 90 percent said they should have at least “some say” on benefits and compensation, but most believe they have little or no say. Similarly, nearly three-quarters said they ought to have “a lot of say” or “unlimited say” concerning harassment protections, yet about two-thirds indicated they have some say or less.

Read the full post at The Conversation.

Thomas Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, a Professor of Work and Employment Research, and the CoDirector of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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