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I took a job at Home Depot and was made to watch their various training videos. At one point, they start off one that sounds fairly innocuous. It's called something like "The Value of Your Signature". It quickly descends into anti-union rhetoric.

I saw a variation of the one above. All of the actors are the same, the main difference is the guy who introduces all of it -- I assume they update the video with whoever is in charge at the time.

Frankly, I was amazed by the video and had to stifle myself from guffawing or commenting. I have no idea how anyone else in the room felt about it.

You can watch it for yourself, but the general idea is that unions are "outsiders" (their words, they use this terminology constantly) who don't get Home Depot's "culture" and apparently go to great strides to infiltrate it.

They make some effort to tell you that they are not anti-union and that they can't force you to do anything. But that's really just a footnote. The rest of the time there's a huge focus on how the only apparent goal of unions is to collect your dues. Because union enrollment is decreasing, they claim that the union's fervor to get you to enroll and collect money from you is stronger than ever.

Unions are, to Home Depot, a third party that gets in the way of their "culture" -- a "culture" where, they claim, you can speak your mind and have a direct channel to management. So, they argue, since we have such a good thing (with benefits, 401k, stock options, etc), there's no reason at all to ever involve the union in your job. But don't forget, they don't hate unions -- in fact, they've even hired ex-union members!

Still, they basically equate union members with these insidious presences at the store -- guys who will randomly show up, mislead you and intimidate you into giving over your precious, valuable signature that the union will count as a vote.

At no point do they note that in getting a job at Home Depot, I have already signed countless documents of a similar nature.

At no point do they note that despite all of this, I'm still making pennies over minimum wage in my new position.

At no point do they note that their 2013 attendance policy makes it so calling in sick is irrelevant and counts as strikes against you while you work for months on end to even earn a few hours of sick leave.

There's a part of the video where they show that despite efforts, Home Depot members have never voted to unionize. They wonder why the unions would keep trying, considering their employees have yelled "no!".

I don't know, considering this is one of the first things I've seen and the unions are equated with parasites over 15 minutes (one of the longest single portions of the training, by the way), why would the average person think unions are positive in any way as it is? Home Depot essentially leads off the argument with their own propaganda and I'd be surprised if most people even gave the union a chance afterward.

I was just surprised by this. I've heard of such videos, but haven't bothered finding a job in this space in a long time. It's so bold-faced and thinly veiled, I couldn't believe it. And if this is how these groups are portrayed to others before anyone gets educated on unions at all? Shit, no wonder so many people don't know or realize what unions have done for them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the signs on the doors (5+ / 0-)

    say all job applicants must take a pre-employment drug test. I've wondered if they actually do that. I've always thought that was intrusive especially for a close to minimum wage job but hey that's just me. Of course any employer can ask that you be sober and straight while on their dime but I always figured your own time was your own business. Somehow I think unions would help with this issue among the obvious other ways they would help.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:04:36 PM PST

    •  As the DH and I found out the hard way. Here in (0+ / 0-)

      Northern CA, smokin heroin is pretty popular. And you can't test for it. It is out of the system pretty quickly. We had an employee who was instructed to put the trailer hitch on the truck, hitch on to the trailer so we could load the tractor on it to take for service. Next thing I see, the trailer is pointing straight up into the air, the tractor is at a 45 angle and it was a wonder that nobody got hurt. That guy, got fired. He went home "sick" that morning after hooking up the trailer. And being that we live in a small town - we got the word that he was a H smoker. sigh. I guess that is the new big thing among the 20 something crowd. Our current employee is older than we are. And he is great. I'll take a VietNam vet anyday over these 20 somethings.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:40:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for the vote of confidence (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, mrsgoo

        I'm in my 20s, from a "small town", never used illegal drugs, thanks for helping to negatively stereotype us.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:11:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've got my eye on you. ;) nt (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, mrsgoo
        •  I'm sorry. I know that not all 20's are H smokers. (0+ / 0-)

          But apparently, in our little town it's damn near an epidemic. Which I just do not understand. Sure, I did plenty of things when I was teens/20's - but man H was something ya just did not do.

          if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

          by mrsgoo on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:27:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, you do take a drug test (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, daveygodigaditch

      I had to take a urine drug test to even be considered, as well as receive a background check.

  •  More and more companies are using these (5+ / 0-)

    videos, and are prevalent in orientations more than ever, even in "right to work" states.

    That fact shows how scared they are of worker solidarity in general.

    "Open door" policies seem like friendly corporate management, on the surface ... but in realty are a method to identify the "malcontent", and for the purpose, more often than not, to take action against them. A prime example being complaints of workplace harassment.

    The tide is turning, and they know it.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:18:03 PM PST

  •  Additional Thoughts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What's so funny about the video, to me, is that they try to make it seem like you're working at a mom and pop store. The guy in the video, who you will NEVER meet, tells you he'll see you in the stores. Really?

    They constantly talk about you as an "individual" and how they respect that. That they care about your future and your goals.

    By comparison, they give stories about how union reps won't know your name, won't know your goals and don't care about you as an individual. They're simply parasites that offer nothing and take money. They want to ruin the "good thing" (HD's words) we have with the company.

    I mean, I'm sure the general people at Home Depot are friendly. I have no bad stories about the employees or even the management yet... But come on, this is a giant, faceless corporation as much as they want to make it seem otherwise.

    I have to jump through hoops to get the job, I have few benefits, they're an "at will" employer and can fire me at any time (and though you can quit at any time, every job in that sector will basically blacklist you if you don't give proper notice).

    I find it amusing that they were willing to go public. So basically, I can't get the input of a third party to unionize and make my job better -- but they can involve a bunch of random people as stakeholders who can indirectly control everything the company does. I'm not sure the difference is as stark as they seem to think it is.

  •  Now that I know this, I will NOT shop there (0+ / 0-)

    except as a last resort. At least they build them union. (around here anyway)

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:07:02 PM PST

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