In January five Supreme Court justices told us corporations are citizens of the United States, with all the rights of citizens like you and me. I am not familiar enough with the ruling to know whether that means just corporations owned entirely by shareholders in the US, or if a majority of the shareholders can reside in other countries like China or Saudi Arabia. No matter. It is our duty to welcome these citizen corporations into the neighborhood and let them exercise their constitutional rights.
What I remember from grade school, however, is that citizenship entails not just rights, but also responsibilities. Remember that “Citizenship” line on your report card? Students who were good citizens during the quarter received an “A.” Problem students who created trouble for others got something less, and parents were supposed to correct the problem behavior.
So what kind of citizens are corporations? Do they contribute to the well-being of the class, or do they throw spit-wads on the ceiling when the teacher isn’t looking?
BevMo is a corporation. BevMo decided to maximize profits for shareholders by eliminating full-time employees and replacing them with part-time workers who have no health benefits. Is this good citizenship? Does this help the community in our classroom? Sorry BevMo, for this year your citizenship grade is D minus. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100813005941/en/BevMo-Workers-Demand-Fairness-Company-Responds-Hiring