When union members of the South Florida AFL-CIO caught wind of a union-busting seminar hosted by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in Miami, they took to the streets to protest this anti-worker campaign and call for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Unions in Miami protest anti-worker seminar, make big news
When the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) put out an invitation for its members to attend a free anti-worker organizing seminar, they probably didn’t expect union members in South Florida to catch wind of it. The invitation, which warned its members that unions are attempting to "pass legislation that makes their life easier," said that the seminar would help companies "survive an organizing campaign."
Outraged, over 150 workers from AFSCME 1907, CWA 3122, IATSE 600, IBEW 349, IBEW 359, IRON 272, SMWIA 32, TWU 291, UA 519, and UA 725, decided to show up at the seminar on Friday, April 24, 2009. And even though ABC mysteriously canceled the seminar at the last minute and removed all information from their website, the workers still protested to have their voices heard on these enemies of workers.
"We’re here to fight for the middle class," said Hector Capote of CWA 3122. "We need good jobs, we need union jobs, and we don’t need people trying to take that away from us."
The workers marched and chanted outside of the building for about an hour. In addition, the Carpenters brought their "rat patrol" bus to circle ABC’s offices. Various workers spoke to the media, sharing their stories of intimidation at the hands of companies.
"As the law stands, an employer can intimidate and coerce employees who want to form a union. Workers who try to form unions get fired and intimidated all the time. It’s really quite a normal way of doing business," said Javier Garcia, an organizer for UA 725.
As corporations and anti-worker law firms continue their campaign to stop the Employee Free Choice Act, workers are becoming even more determined in their fight to gain a greater voice on the job. Specifically, union members of the South Florida AFL-CIO are planning a flurry of activities to support the Act in the next month, including worksite actions, academic symposiums and events with community allies.
To watch video of the protest taken by the Miami Herald, click here.
To read an article on the national AFL-CIO Blog about this protest, click here.
To read an article in the Miami Herald about this protest, click here.