I've noticed that most of the talk about "lazy, good-for-nothing" workers comes from managers and staff members who have NEVER had to work on the floor (or, if they have, they were insulated from the real world by virtue of being related to the big boss). Some of these folks will stand around bad-mouthing the help, without realizing that most of those folks want nothing more than to do a bang-up job. Most of being a supervisor involves eliminating all the little things that keep people from doing their job. ...
To be fair, all the misconceptions in the factory don't belong to the bosses. Many rank-and-file workers believe their boss LOVES to fire people. In reality, many managers are reluctant to enforce rules, and the LEAST favorite part of almost any manager's job is firing or writing up their employees. Indeed, as a production manager, the most common problem I saw in managers who reported to me was their reluctance to demand high performance from their people.
But it's easy to think the worst of other people, especially when they're different from you. There are bad apples in every bushel, and those bad apples tend to draw your attention, especially when viewed from the outside. But that's misleading.
Most people want to do a good job. Most people respect themselves enough for that. If you work alongside them, it's easy to see this. It doesn't mean that they don't have the same weaknesses all of us fight. And if bad apples are left to rot, the whole bushel can turn bad.
But that's rarely the case with people, because we, unlike apples, can think for ourselves. And most of us have standards of behavior which define who we are. Your race, your religion, your nationality, your gender, your income level - none of those things change that. Our differences just make it harder to see our similarities and, sadly, make it easier to believe the worst about other people.