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View Diary: This week at progressive state blogs: BART dispute, priest at the bully pulpit, abortion lies (27 comments)

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  •  On "denigrating your workers..." (5+ / 0-)
    Denigrating your workers in the media may be a winning strategy in the battle for public opinion, but it's a foolhardy one for senior management running an organization whose success depends so heavily on employee commitment and flexibility.
    I remember when I passed on my position as shop steward to a younger fellow worker (I was getting ready to leave for  a different job). He came back from negotiations very upset. He couldn't believe how management had talked about the staff, insults, etc.

    I told him that, of course, management was going to devalue us as part of a strategy to keep on paying low wages. But we should never look to management to affirm our worth as workers. Put the fear of strike into them. Nothing focuses their minds on how much they need us like a strike vote.

    "You never miss your water 'till your well runs dry."

    I remember once during negotiations the asshole area manager suggested that if our lowest-paid members wanted better wages, they should get a different job. I said, "Well, that could be arranged."

    These were the most indispensable workers in the whole facility.

    Now the negotiations before this, when I was on the committee, we got ready by taking a rank and file strike vote, no thanks to our local union (SEIU Local 113), I might add, we did this our selves. It was statistically a 100% (only 1 vote against) "yes" vote to authorize a strike should management not meet our demands. And we came in with a list of our demands (also no thanks to the local union officers.) We got an 11% wage increase that year for our lowest paid members, unheard of at that time, also safety language which the mediator called the best she had ever seen.

    Now I will give IUOE Local 49 credit on this issue. They ALWAYS took a strike vote before contract negotiations. The Local officers proposed it and the members endorsed it unanimously by a loud raucous voice vote.

    In short, if management wants to denigrate us and the work we do, we should give them an opportunity to run the shop without us.

    Weaving cloth with bayonets is hard to do.
                                               -Joe Hill

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:43:14 AM PDT

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