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Papa John's Manifesto

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It is the pursuit and accumulation of excessive wealth that produces unnecessary friction between the classes and division within the middle class.  The most frustrating aspect of this dynamic is that it does not have to be this way.  Although it is a fixation in complex societies, that does not make it necessary and indispensable.  A balance between the wealthy being able to enjoy their lavish lifestyles and the multitudes, who enable this lifestyle through their work and spending, being able to work for and enjoy a comfortable standard of living is very attainable.  The one-percent can keep their wealth; the average person does not desire it. Sure they would accept it if gifted to them, but they are not actively pursuing it.  The average person simply wants a comfortable lifestyle.    

The greatest single barrier to economic fairness are members of the ninety-nine percent who are unaware of where their best interests lie and actively, albeit unknowingly, undermine the effort to bring fair compensation to all working individuals.  Sadly, these are the very people who would benefit the most from it.  This class of person is by far the most formidable impediment as they undermine the proletariat's greatest asset: numerosity.  Without such resistance, in our democracy, the oppressive class would be stripped of its ability to create economic distress en masse for the sake of achieving wider than necessary profit margins. Although external factors will exert their influence, the battle for economic fairness will be waged and determined within the population's core. 

The push to bring fair compensation to all working members of our society has been an uphill battle.  Strides have been made and the working class is unequivocally in a better position than it was one-hundred years ago; but there is still work to do. The fact that progress has been made, notwithstanding certain moments of regression, should serve as hope that change can be effectuated.  As a country, we are closer to achieving this equitable goal than many realize, but a fierce resistance has been mounted on one of the last frontiers: the frontier of affordable health care.   As the formula to provide a comfortable standard of living to the working individual continues to evolve, affordable health care remains one of the largest missing pieces.  In a lot of middle class familial situations, it is the only piece missing.  The same applies to the level of compensation for many working class individuals where the inclusion of affordable health care would render their compensation fair.  To many, obtaining a comfortable standard of living is the American dream. As a country we should we should strive to keep this dream alive for those who are willing to work for it.   

The masses are the engine that drives this country.  Collectively, it was working class tax dollars that paid for the bailouts that pulled this country out of its worst economic depression since The New Deal era.  Our precious auto and financial industries, which are so vital to this county's survival, were preserved on the backs of the wage-earners.  Now the wage-earners want their consideration, and this bill is long overdue.  Many individuals of the wealthy elite were held up by the middle class during the recession; going forward, it is only fair to ensure they receive fair compensation for their work. 

This is not class warfare; to the contrary, the classes need each other.  Specifically, they must nurture a symbiotic relationship to keep both healthy and viable.  For too long the working class has carried a disproportionate amount of the weight.  This is not a call for one class to supplant and subjugate the other or for the upper class to bear a disproportionate burden.  This is a call for fairness.  Give the common people fair trade for their labor and services; let them earn a comfortable lifestyle.  Too many individuals are working full-time for less than fair compensation.  They are working full-time and are unable to attain decent shelter, food, clothing and affordable health care in exchange.  This is not a high standard and yet millions of working individuals are held below it in the pursuit of excessive wealth. 

Some people who read this document will quickly dismiss it on grounds that it is "communistic." Such rhetoric will most likely come from persons who neglected to actually read the piece, let alone the paragraph that expressly rejects communism, holding its utility to be strictly suited for small, commune-type collectives.  Nor will they read the part that endorses capitalism with equitable constraints.  To be fair, a lot of its supporters will probably also fail to actually read it; that just seems to be the norm in this country.  The import of proffering informed opinions seems to be diminishing by the day.  Certain media sources actually thrive on this aspect of intellectual regression.  For the record, this manifesto is about human decency and fundamental fairness.  It is about taking care of the middle class, the backbone of our country, but not at the undue expense of the wealthy.  It is about finding a healthy balance between the classes and fostering a mutually beneficial relationship therein.

Historically, the oppressive class has put great stock in the formula: the less informed the masses are, the easier it is to control them.  A poorly informed populous class is much less likely to understand what its best interests are, what controlling members of government have those interests in mind and what overarching political policies are most favorable to the common people as a whole.  A lot of detractors will try to shift the focus onto people who are chronically unemployed.  That topic is worthy of discussion, but it is wholly irrelevant to addressing the issue at hand. It is important not to succumb to misdirection tactics designed to divide and misplace accountability. This manifesto is advocating the need to provide working individuals with fair compensation for their labor and services.  It is demanding that companies who generate huge sums of money exercise due care and take responsibility for the welfare of their work forces rather than saddle the taxpayers with this duty.  There are too many people who are not only willing, but actually do grind out a full week of work for compensation and benefits, or lack thereof, that keep them well below a comfortable standard of living.  This needs to change.    

The government can only do so much.  Our society has made great strides since the era where steel, coal and oil barons operated with impunity, devoid of empathy for the commoner. However, greed has prevented fair compensation from reaching all levels of the working class. Neither political party has been able to achieve such equity, but we the people can; the masses can.  The most valuable asset of the populous class is its numerosity.  We are the engine that drives the major sectors, whether it be industrial, energy, service, military or agricultural.  This is not a call for violence or even a revolution.  It is more of a call for evolution.  It is a call to make a stand.                           

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 Make A Stand


Returning to the topic that spurred this manifesto, to the employees of Papa John's, there is a way that you can protect yourselves from the callous greed the company has demonstrated.  You can strike.  The ownership of Papa John's needs you a whole lot more than you need them.  They know this and are hopeful you will not figure it out.  Collectively, you are the moving parts of the well-oiled machine that is currently operating over 4,000 franchises in several different continents.  On your backs, you have made the CEO and others on the corporate side of the business very wealthy. You have provided the human capital to produce above-average profit margins for many owners on the franchise-level and rather than show a debt of gratitude, many franchise owners are developing schemes to preclude you from a comfortable standard of living.  Strategies like keeping a worker's status below full-time and releasing people outright, not because of job performance, but to keep the work force under fifty employees in an effort to make affordable health care inaccessible are being devised.  All of you work, none of you are asking for a handout and yet, they are not willing to let you earn fair compensation.  Even when given the option of raising the cost of pizza in order to provide you with affordable health care, some owners would rather slash hours and terminate employees than charge customers eleven-fourteen cents more per pizza. 

The collective apathy of Papa John's leads to an unmistakable conclusion: the company has placed the pursuit of excessive wealth over the welfare of its employees.  It is opposed to providing the heart of its work force with fair compensation.  The company has stated that, "If Obamacare is in fact not repealed.  We will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare order to protect our shareholder's best interests."  Written clearly between the lines is: we will cut hours and terminate jobs from the people who need them the most, in the pursuit of excessive wealth.  John Schnatter's priorities clearly rest with the shareholders, not the people whose work maintains the value of their shares.  In effect, you have been devalued and unduly exploited.  So how do you respond?         

You must first recognize how important you are to the company: you are its backbone.  You are not expendable.  You have value; you have worth.  If ownership is unwilling to recognize this fact then you must make them.  Protests and rallies can be effective, but they pale in comparison to bringing operations to an abrupt and sudden halt.  By simply not showing up one day, en masse, Papa John's will realize just how integral you are to the company.  They can replace some of you, but they cannot replace all of you; especially not overnight.  I therefore call for an October 26, 2012 strike.  Friday is a very popular day for pizza orders and Papa John's will not be able to deliver without its work force.  

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All employees who are currently not receiving fair compensation or who detest the underlying unfairness of the situation should refrain from working on the target date.  Staying consistent with the principles of this manifesto, this stand does not have to create widespread division and discord between ownership, management and the rank and file.  Amongst the franchise owners and management will be a mix of viewpoints, some will be in favor of economic fairness; others will take a more callous approach.  It is important not to ostracize people who support the strike, simply because they are in a more fortunate position than you.  To the Papa John's owners and management who care for your employees and do not subscribe to the company's pursuit of excessive wealth: stand with your colleagues, your friends, your kin.  Exercise independent thought, sometimes the company line is wrong.  Do not let your loyalty to the company interfere with your principles and deep-seeded belief of what is fair.  Distinguishing between right and wrong is rarely complicated; choosing to do right over wrong, and absorbing the fallout, is often the hard part.  Here is your chance.

This might not be easy; not everyone will agree with you, but it is time to take a stand.  Everyday, the employees that man the 4,000 plus Papa John's restaurants fuel the company's continued growth and success.  Their labor lines the pockets of its CEO, executives, shareholders and franchise owners.  Far too many employees are not receiving fair compensation for their labor.  The company is very capable of providing affordable health care to its work force while expanding; the two objectives are not mutually exclusive.  Whether the price of pizza is going up eleven-fourteen cents or Papa John's will accept reduced profit margins, the bill for fair compensation is due.  October 26, 2012 is the date.  


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Hello, I am submitting a manifesto that I wrote in response to Papa John's comments regarding Obamacare and the overarching issue of affordable health care and entitlement to a livable wage in our country. I hope you publish it. -RWH

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