Posts Tagged ‘union’

Two tales for 2014 Labor Day

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Happy Labor Day. Two tales about unionism. Abraham Lincoln said it best:

Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.

Good news in an unexpected place: Workers at the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen auto manufacturing plant have created UAW Local 42 to represent workers. The company is expected to recognize the union once a threshold number of workers join the union. The company favored the union in the Feb. 2014 election. Outside Tennessee politicians fought hard to defeat the union winning the support of workers to keep Tennessee hostile to unions. It is a “right to work” state.

Bad news where least expected: Amazon fights its workers’ right to unionize in Germany, a union-friendly country. Along with GMO and fast food, another horrible American export — anti-unionism!

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Remember without workers CEOs would have no income and investors would have no companies to push to their limits of productivity.


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Machinists keep jobs, Boeing sets precedent for killing pensions

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Update after Jan. 3 vote: 51% of Machinists accepted the final Boeing proposal under pressure from politicians and the IAM International. Read background story.

Statement of IAM Local 751:

Machinists Union members have voted to accept the Boeing Co.’s proposed eight-year contract with a 51 percent yes vote.

“Our members have spoken and this is the course we’ll take,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, which represents more than 30,000 hourly workers at Boeing plants in Puget Sound.

The decision means Boeing will stop seeking alternate sites for its 777X aircraft program, the latest version of its best-selling widebody jet, and start preparations to start final assembly and wing fabrication in Puget Sound.
The union’s goal in coming years will be to fight to ensure Boeing lives up to its commitment to its workforce and keeps jobs in Washington state, Wroblewski said.

The vote to accept the contract came even though Wroblewski and the District 751 leadership team had unanimously recommended that union members reject Boeing’s offer, which included steep concessions on retirement and health care benefits and limits on future wage growth.

“All along we knew that our members wanted to build the 777X, and that it was in Boeing’s best interest to have them do it,” he said. “We recommended that our members reject the offer because we felt that the cost was too high, in terms of our lost pensions and the thousands of dollars in additional health care costs we’ll have to pay each year.

“Now, it’s up to all of us now to pull together to make this airplane program successful. I’m confident we will do that, because as we’ve said all along, this is the most-skilled aerospace workforce in the world.”


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New Canadian private sector union – Unifor – modern, progressive

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.


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Chancellor’s Leadership of Campus Anti-Workplace Bullying Campaign

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Here at WBI, we have long contended that organizations need their highest ranking leaders to genuinely want to stop workplace bullying. Lip service from the top might be adequate to get an initiative started by the internal champions and advocates, but the risk is that the executive reserves the right for him or herself to stop the program without warning or justification. Unfortunately, most executives squash attempts by earnest champions at the start.

Here’s a rare good news tale from the University of Massachusetts. These are the words of the Chancellor writing to all campus staff with my comments in burgundy.

Shortly after my arrival on campus last year, I learned of the disturbing results of a survey about workplace bullying that had been administered to all faculty and staff members. While the numbers were consistent with those found at workplaces of all types throughout the country, this is clearly an area in which UMass Amherst aspires to be something much better than average.



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Union Refs Allowed Back by Greedy Owners

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Unions don’t win many fights against bullying employers these days. Chicago teachers won but will now have 30% of their evaluation based on student test scores. Caterpillar machinists (IAM) strikers conceded everything to end their strike. 45,000 CWA & IBEW Verizon workers preserved their collective bargaining rights just last week.

The 121-member NFL Referees Association, thanks to ineptitude shown by non-union replacements, won a new 8-yr contract with the National Football League. The league locked out the refs. Technically, it was not a strike. The NFL insisted that referees give up their fixed pension plan and convert to 401K (gambling with retirement funds by investing in Wall Street, risking losses like many Americans experienced in the 2008 financial meltdown). The current refs are “grandfathered in” (though the newest professional ref is a woman) to retain their pensions. Newcomers won’t be so lucky.



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BC Union Celebrates Pink Shirt Day – Feb. 29

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

BCGEU President Darryl Walker announced the union’s commitment to stopping workplace bullying on Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 29. Said Walker,

“the BCGEU is a strong advocate of respect in the workplace and we’re continuing to put mechanisms in place to address the problem. We’ve organized member and public awareness campaigns, and held workshops to ensure our members are knowledgeable about workplace bullying and the steps they can take when they encounter it… We’ve also negotiated anti-bullying language into collective agreements.”

WBI’s Gary Namie addresses a BCGEU workplace bullying event on March 9.



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Our requisite rediscovery of democracy

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I have written that We Are All Badgers Now to link WBI’s pro-worker goal, with its aspirational organizational democratic principles. Inherent in our work is to strive toward equality with an intolerance of inequality.



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Canadian union power humbles Wal-Mart

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Walmart, the world’s largest corporation, is famous for its anti-union stance–no U.S. store is unionized.



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Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Conference

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Gary Namie will offer a May 28 workshop for AOHN reps & stewards at their conference in Banff. Read the conference brochure.


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Wal-Mart Anti-Employee Guide

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

When Orson Mason wrote the union-prevention tips below, he was branch manager at a Greencastle, Indiana Wal-Mart store. He is still anti-union as an Employee Relations executive at Clarian Health Partners a non-union healthcare system that operates the Indiana University, Methodist and Riley Hospitals in Indianapolis, IN. In 2005, a union organizing effort for Clarian nurses was thwarted.

This essay was published as “Look for the Union Label” in Harper’s Magazine, October, 2004

Labor Relations and You at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center

by Orson Mason

Wal-Mart is opposed to unionization of its associates. Any suggestion that the Company is neutral on the subject or that it encourages associates to join labor organizations is not true. As a member of Wal-Mart’s management team, you are our first line of defense against unionization. This toolbox will provide you with valuable information on how to remain union-free in the event union organizers choose your facility as their next target.


  • Increased curiosity in benefits
  • Associates receiving unusual attention from other associates
  • Associates talking in hushed tones to each other
  • Abuse of rest-room visits
  • Associates spending an abnormal amount of time in the parking lot before and after work
  • Associates who are never seen together start talking or associating with each other and begin forming strange alliances


Unions have learned to identify certain types of individuals who are more susceptible to union exploitation than others:

  1. THE INEFFICIENT ASSOCIATE realizes that he will not be able to measure up to the facility’s standards and will be terminated. He is attracted to the union because they convince him that they will clothes him with the so-called shield of “job security.”
  2. THE REBELLIOUS ASSOCIATE is attracted to the union cause simply because he is opposed to all management or bosses. He consequently becomes an antagonist to the employer and a respondent to the union propaganda.
  3. THE SOMETHING-FOR-NOTHING ASSOCIATE is the typical injury faker who has collected worker’s compensation from most of his former employers. He is always looking for a deal. he takes every imaginable shortcut in his job and sincerely feels that the world owes him a living.
  4. THE CHRONICALLY DISSATISFIED ASSOCIATE might be one of the most productive associates, but he will find fault with everything. He is a hopeless griper, as distinguished from a constructive critic. He is truly an unhappy individual. He was probably born unhappy, is going to die unhappy, and is going to be unhappy for the duration between.
  5. THE CAUSE-ORIENTED ASSOCIATE will “jump” on any bandwagon that passes through his area. He was the same individual who joined all the “off-beat” organizations in high school or college. He once took a trip to India to visit his personal “guru.”
  6. THE OVERQUALIFIED ASSOCIATE is out of his element. He might well be a Ph.D. operating a grinding machine or a former accountant sweeping the floor, but his station in life has deteriorated to the point that his vanity suffers. He will attempt to exert his influence over his fellow associates in an effort to bolster his deflated ego and will be attracted to the union simply because the union will seem to offer hopes of returning him to his previous station in life.


If a union organizer contacts you demanding recognition or seeking to show you authorization cards, DO NOT acknowledge that the union represents a majority of your associates, DO NOT agree to look at any proof of majority support — such as authorization cards or membership applications — DO NOT agree to have a “neutral” party examine the offered proof of majority status. The proper response when a union organizer seeks recognition is to refer him/her to your Personnel Manager. Refuse to accept any documents from the union. Immediately after any conversation with a union rep, call the Union Hotline at 501-273-8300.

Staying union free is a full-time commitment. Unless union prevention is a goal equal to other objectives within an organization, the goal will usually not be attained. No one in management is immune from carrying his or her “own weight” in the union-prevention effort. Unless each member of management is willing to spend the necessary time, effort, energy, and money, the Wal-Mart union-free objective will not be accomplished.

The Keene Group, one of many consulting companies proud to prevent unionization for employers afraid to grant employee rights or dignity. Aren’t these the true “job killers”?


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