Does the Autonomous Dignified Worker Have the Right To Engage in Civil Disobedience? -Prof Anne Lofaso (WVU)
In a just workplace, one governed by rules, regulations, and laws that reflect the values of autonomy and dignity, workers have a voice in workplace decision making (have become part authors of their working lives) and are treated with dignity. These autonomous dignified workers are better able to fulfill the needs and wants of themselves and their family precisely because they work for a fair wage in a safe and just workplace. But few workplaces, even in nearly just societies, perfectly reflect these values. Given the mismatch between justice and reality, the question becomes: At what point and under what conditions is the autonomous dignified worker entitled to engage in civil disobedience or uncivil obedience (e.g., work to rule)? To answer this question, Professor Lofaso deconstructs the normally accepted features of civil disobedience, “a public, nonviolent and conscientious yet political act contrary to law, usually done with the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the government”, asking whether these features are necessary. Professor Lofaso then asks whether there are circumstances under which the autonomous dignified worker is justified in engaging in civil disobedience including whether non-punishment or violence is ever justified.