Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category
Monday, November 4th, 2013
American professional football is now recognized as a violent game, not only by critics, but by its own admission. The NFL (the team owners) settled a huge lawsuit for players who suffered concussions and committed funds to researching the effects of the sport on retired players’ health. The fact that retired players chose to die by suicide, a decision driven in large part by the brain damage they suffered, speaks volumes about the sport.
Players privileged to play at the professional level have groomed their playing skills from childhood through high school and college and endured years of boys’ locker room antics where social skills are honed. It’s possibly the most masculine, aggressive environment of all workplaces (military as an equal). Do we expect respect to be part of that cutthroat competitive environment?
Tags: Gary Namie, Jonathan Martin, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NFLPA, Richie Icognito, workplace bullying
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Friday, September 13th, 2013
UPDATED Sept. 16, 2013
Because school teachers comprise such a large group of targets bullied in the workplace, we at WBI care very much about the systemic government assaults on public schools in the name of education “reform.” Elsewhere, we’ve shown readers how the U.S. “Common Core” curriculum is destructive to education rather than positive as advertised under the label of “reform.”
The Mexican government under President Enrique Pena Nieto (PRI party) is conducting raids of the Mexican education system similar to those in the U.S. The Mexican Constitution was written after the revolution of 1910-1920.
Article 3 established free, public, secular education. Nieto amended Article 3 to mandate teacher evaluation based on student test scores (sound familiar?). Changes included standardization of the responsibilities and salaries of school principals and other supervisors.
The Mexican Teachers Union (SNTE) has been run by a president (Elba Esther Gordillo) who has wielded power for 30 years. Within SNTE a militant caucus called the National Coordinating Committee (CNTE) has taken action on behalf of teacher members. CNTE organized protests in 13 states. Teachers have occupied public buildings, blocked the Mexico City international airport for several hours, and seized highway toll booths. For several days 30,000 have sat in at Mexico City’s main square. Tens of thousands have camped out in Mexico City’s main square (pictured here by CNTE).
Tags: CNTE, education reform, Mexico, Nieto, SNTE, teachers, workplace bullying
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Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Announcing the 2013 Workplace Bullying Institute Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week — October 20-26. Created to be a special time to try something different to stop workplace bullying for bullied targets, coworkers, family members, supervisors, managers, HR, executives, lawmakers, cities, counties and communities. Read our suggestions for activities.
Tags: bullies, Freedom from workplace bullies week, Freedom Week, Unions, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Events & Appearances, Freedom Week, Unions, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Several factors typically merge that exacerbate the misery that convinces individuals who choose to die by suicide to act. Research has found that in workplaces where bullying operates simultaneously with several other negative conditions, it is the bullying that has the greatest deleterious effect on people — bullied targets and witnesses. Given that many people’s identities are centered around work and what one does for compensation, work can dominate home life factors.
Finally, to connect the dots, misery from work travels home readily. Bullying at work inevitably strains domestic relationships. Thus, for targets exposed to unremitting stress at work from bullying, a very personalized form of abuse, eventually it feels like the world is closing in on them. Taking one’s life suddenly becomes an option when no alternatives are visible.
Such a case was reported in the Bassett Unified School District in southern California. Jennifer Lenihan was a Bassett High art teacher, known by students for personally buying class supplies, creativity and loving the art museum. According to press reports quoting her stepfather, Lenihan was driven to suicide by the school principal, Robert Reyes and assistant principal Jimmy Lima. There were reports of the two administrators shaming Lenihan in front of teachers and students. And she was assigned a class with which she was unfamiliar (a classic tactic used to destabilize good veteran teachers) and told to teach the class or lose another class she wanted to teach.
She took stress leave, receiving half her salary for a short time. Her claims for disability insurance and workers’ compensation were both denied. She took out a personal loan to live. The district gave her two options: resign or apply for a waiting list for rehire. She was at the end of her rope. Her mother had given her rent money. The next day, July 1, she took her life.
Teachers union officers said the treatment Lenihan received is common at the district. Further, Reyes and Lima have a record of bullying teachers. The new district superintendent said there was no “written form” record of complaints from Lenihan. He said the district has no “morale” problem.
Tags: assistant principal, Bassett Teachers Association, Bassett Unified School District, disability, educator, Jennifer Lenihan, Jimmy Lima, principal, Robert Reyes, suicide, teacher, workers' compensation, workplace bullying
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Thursday, September 5th, 2013
At the launching convention this past Labour Day weekend of a new Canadian union — Unifor — Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, spoke.
Her book describes the international conservative movement to privatize governments, to bust unions and to commodify natural resources for corporate profits. The Shock Doctrine is the impetus for removing public control of the city of Detroit and putting it in the hands of a financial manager prepared to sell off nearly all public assets and privatize all services. The Shock in her doctrine is the false claim that we are broke and cannot afford to help citizens anymore. [If only we weren't so busy making expensive wars that sap taxpayer funds.] Governments then impose austerity on the public and worsen their situations. Then, they make the argument that corporations know better how to run businesses so they should take over where government “failed.”
Tags: Canada, extract, extractivism, mining industry, Naomi Klein, overburden, Shock Doctrine, Stephen Harper, Tar Sands, unifor, Unions
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Leave it to Canada to lead the way to rejuvenate the labor movement. A new 300,000 member union, Unifor, was launched when the CAW (auto workers) and CEP (energy and paper workers) merged. The timing — “when our economy is being hollowed, our democracy eroded and when governments have abandoned social progress in the name of austerity” — is a warning shot to austerity-mongerers that this union will still stand for social justice.
The new union was created to be “a modern, inclusive approach to serve members better and participate more effectively in our workplaces and communities.”
“As the largest private sector union in Canada, Unifor will advocate for and defend the rights of working people, in more than 20 economic sectors and in communities across Canada. We will stand for safer workplaces, secure employment, wages and benefits that provide a decent standard of living, and dignity and mutual respect in the workplace.”
“We will be a union for workers, a union for the unemployed, a union for women, a union for new Canadians, a union for young workers and the precariously employed – a union for everyone.”
In Unifor’s Constitution, one of its founding Principles is to be Progressive.
Our goal is transformative. To reassert common interest over private interest. Our goal is to change our workplaces and our world. Our vision is compelling. It is to fundamentally change the economy, with equality and social justice, restore and strengthen our democracy and achieve an environmentally sustainable future. This is the basis of social unionism — a strong and progressive union culture and a commitment to work in common cause with other progressives in Canada and around the world.
Naomi Klein was a speaker at the launch. Read about her contributions.
Tags: austerity, Canadian auto workers, Canadian energy and paper workers, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Naomi Klein, private sector unions, progressive, social unionism, Stephen Harper, unifor, union
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Sunday, September 1st, 2013
Throughout the years we at the WBI have covered Labor Day from the workers’ rights perspective. The holiday is not just for shopping or camping. It’s about honoring people who work. More specifically, as the historical accounts below make clear, it is about emancipating workers from horrific working conditions and doing so collectively, in an organized way. Yes, the union way.
Unions are demonized daily and growing extinct. The attacks are leveled without rebuttal by “journalists” or cowardly politicians who should represent everyone’s interests rather than corporate employers. Media reps are afraid of losing ad dollars. Politicians fear bucking the pro-corporate PACs with the funds to pour into their opponents’ campaign coffers. Unions can only muster 6% of all contributions to politicians. Corporatists control the system.
Income inequality grows in the U.S. The connection between declining unionization rates and inequality is not accidental. They are mutually determinative. That is, the richest among us want to make America a minimum wage nation, while unions ask nothing more than a living wage on which families can provide shelter, food, clothing and education for their children. Somehow, the most greedy have convinced the majority of us that those needs are excessive. That earning a $40,000 wage with benefits and a fixed pension is bankrupting America. Balderdash!!!
So, union-bashers take the weekend off, please. Let’s see how many union folks are featured in media coverage during the one holiday that belongs to them — Labor Day.
For 2013, we’re re-posting a favorite WBI podcast.
Podcast: Labor Day Message for Working Folks
Restoring dignity for the underclasses with help from Franklin Roosevelt, Mark Twain (Hal Holbrook), Andrew Cuomo, Harry Chapin.
Read the report cited in the podcast: No Rhyme or Reason: The ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’ Bank Bonus Culture by Andrew Cuomo, then NY State Attorney General
Tags: economic royalists, FDR, Gary Namie, Reg Theriault, tired at work
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Podcasts, The New America, Unions, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Sunday, September 1st, 2013
Think Maypole? Yes, but, there is so much more. May Day started in the U.S. in the late 1880′s to commemorate the struggle by workers to shorten 10-16 hour workdays to 8-hours. At its 1884 national convention in Chicago, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (the future AFL), proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” The federation called for workers to negotiate with their employers for an eight-hour workday and, if that failed, to call a general strike on May 1 in support of the demand. The terrible aftermath of that first May Day 1886 in Chicago, the Haymarket massacre, would convince politicians and businesses to move labor events to Labor Day in September so the memory of what happened in 1886 would be erased from public memory.
Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
I just returned from an invigorating, stimulating and inspirational meeting in San Francisco staged by the Stop Workplace Bullying Group. [Every meeting I attend is about workplace bullying, nothing else.] And in the ILWU Local 34 union hall on Sat. July 27, community leaders and unionists gathered to share tales of whistleblowing and bullying and to plan future action.
Three major union-related themes emerged
1. Unions fail when leaders are themselves bullies and turn a deaf ear to the plight of abused members who turn to the union for help. Sadly, this is often the case. Why? One explanation is that in order to be popular enough within membership, one has to show toughness to fight for contract provisions (see what the largest union of California state employees was able to negotiate in 2013 for its members), and in daily encounters with management. Thus, the profile of an ideal local president fits closely with the characteristics of a bully. There may be a selection factor.
An alternative explanation is that many contemporary union leaders want to get along with management, to “partner,” to make concessions to appear cooperative. This tactic compromises the function of the union — to speak a collective voice to balance management’s desire to own all aspects the production process. Members see this type of leader as a sellout.
The SF meeting attendees declared that, regardless of the reason for union leaders not supporting members, leaders who stand in the way of eradicating workplace bullying should be removed from office!
Tags: Carrie Clark, Derek Kerr, Gary Namie, SF Stop Workplace Bullying Group, unions and bullying, workplace bullying
Posted in Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, July 29th, 2013
Union workers (SEIU, Local 1000) negotiated for, and won, in their new 2013 contract with the State of California and all agencies where Local 1000 members work major victories. They will not be furloughed, but on the workplace bullying front, they will now have new tools to compel State managers to act with respect in a non-bullying, non-abusive manner. Local 1000 counts 95,000 members across its nine bargaining units.
The announcement came on the SEIU website, proclaiming on July 16
Dignity Clause Strengthened
Under our new contract, members have more rights when it comes to workplace bullying or other violations of the dignity clause.
Our bargaining team succeeding in obtaining language that strengthens the Dignity Clause (Article 5.11) so that employees who believe they have not been treated with generally accepted standards of dignity and human courtesy may now file a grievance. Previously, members could only file a complaint of dignity clause violations to their department head.
In addition, our new contract requires each state department to maintain a Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention policy and distribute it to each employee.
“We fought for the strongest possible protections for our members who experience workplace bullying–I know firsthand how a bully boss can create a nightmare for you at work,” said Sophia Perkins, chair of Bargaining Unit 4, who testified about her own experiences during bargaining. “One reason I became active in the union is to address this issue and hold bullying bosses accountable.”
The text of Article 5.11 Dignity Clause, agreed upon on June 9, 2013 is …
“The State is committed to providing a workplace where all employees, regardless of their classification or pay status, are treated by supervisors and managers in a manner that maintains generally accepted standards of human dignity and courtesy. Employees alleging they have not been treated accordingly may file a grievance. The decision reached at Step 3 (CalHR) shall be final.”
Further, management proposed language for Article 10.21 Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention …
“The State and Union developed a model Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention program. Each department shall maintain a Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention program that meets the existing mutually agreed upon model program. The department program shall be in writing and distributed an/or made available to all employees.”
A “Mini-Arbitration Procedure” has been pilot tested and now made permanent for the life of the new contract. It creates a standing panel of four arbitrators, two assigned by the Union and two by the State. Article 6.14 creates the panel and spells out rules to expedite the hearing process. Arbitration begins at Step 4. Disputes over the Dignity Clause end at Step 3. It appears that like in the 2009 NAGE-State of Massachusetts contract, arbitration is not something the States, as employers, are willing to subject themselves to.
Tags: Article 5.11, Article 6A, bargaining agreement, contracts, Dignity Clause, mutual respect, NAGE, SEIU Local 1000, State of California, State of Massachusetts, Unions, workplace bullying
Posted in Good News, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (