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Small child dressed as a mail carrier for Halloween.
Halloween bonus: Cutest mail carrier ever?
Much, much less cute: Workers in union organizing drives are often pulled into captive audience meetings or interrogated one on one by anti-union bosses. That's something we talk about a lot in describing the barriers workers face when they want to unionize, but it's a lot rarer we get to hear what that actually sounds like. Now, a worker at Iron Mountain, a records management and storage company, has recorded a captive audience meeting held as workers in Georgia try to organize and join the Teamsters. He also recorded as he was interrogated about his union activity.

Oh, and surprise! This worker was fired. Which would be illegal if he was fired for union activity, but I bet the company would say he was just coincidentally fired for having coincidentally done something wrong coincidentally right around the time he was participating in union organizing.

And more:

  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) explains why and how he's pushing for improved manufacturing policy.
  • College professor makes laughable arguments about how college professors don't need unions. Erik Loomis takes him to the woodshed:
    Right…. Senior administrators totally share the values of the faculty, such as eliminating the German, French, and Philosophy departments, replacing tenure-track faculty with adjuncts, reducing budgets, and generally squeezing the faculty while padding administration with more positions and six-figure salaries. And the administration oh so much cares about faculty feedback to their bad ideas. I mean, in my 7 years as a faculty member, I’ve seen nothing but respect and positive responses to feedback from faculty. In my fantasy world, I’ve seen administrators realize their ideas were bad, restore funding for departments, take the humanities and social sciences seriously, reinforce the values of a liberal arts education, support professor free speech, and respect the traditional role of a higher education in shaping a new generation and exposing them to new ideas. It’s a fantasy world because the real world of academia is mostly terrible. Which is why we need unions.
  • Don't worry, though! Gender discrimination isn't really a thing!
    Women are more likely to be asked to do favors or help out their coworkers, but when they do they are less appreciated for it than men, according to research from business school professor Frank Flynn.
  • This actually really is good news. Target will no longer have questions about criminal history on job applications, removing a key barrier to people re-entering the workforce after prison.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is a large industry (7+ / 0-)

    of anti-union consultants and attorneys who get paid 100s of thousands of dollars to manage anti-union campaigns, including the "crafting" of speeches like these.

    There are little-remembered and never-obeyed laws that require management to  report whatever they paid the anti-union consultants, and the consultants themselves must file annual reports on their anti-union activities.

    If these workers, for instance, learned that Iron Mountain paid the Fulbright & Jaworski law firm $1 million to  fight the union, maybe typical company assertions that union wages may drive the company out of business, wouldn't ring true.

    Enforcing these law is a rumored change in Dept of Labor policy, hopefully within this century.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:55:56 PM PDT

  •  I've been a worker through one of those (5+ / 0-)

    anti-union drives. If I wasn't in favor of a union before, I sure would be now.

    Management pays 100's of thousands for these anti union outfits disguised as law firms.

    They put the lie in lie-yar, but they are pure gop mis-information factories.

    I saved all my material, maybe someday I'll write it up or swap notes with others that have been through the same grinder.

    Right to work == right to be fired for anything.

    •  BusyinCa (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kenneth Thomas

      Do you have time to scan a couple of pages of those materials, and post it as a diary, with a paragraph of narrative?

      It would school anyone who saw it here.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:14:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another reason that faculty (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    codairem, 6412093, irate

    particularly adjuncts need unions: wage theft.

    In my last teaching job, the university would cancel classes up to a month into the semester, and then refuse to pay the adjuncts for the time they had worked.  

    Happened to me, and unfortunately, there's little recourse.  I reached out to my then US Senators office (Sherrod Brown) and they totally dropped the ball. Didn't even call me back.  I have no doubt that Sen. Brown is serious on labor issues, but his office staff were beyond unhelpful.

    I am not the only person this happened to, but I'm one of the few who tried to do something about it.  After the Sen. Brown's office just didn't respond. (This is all the more galling, because 95% of the budget of the private university I was teaching at came from either direct federal grants or financial aid.) So I took this into my own hands, and filed a complaint with the US Department of Labor.

    The DOL has seriously restricted resources, and I doubt I will ever get paid for the time I actually worked. (They can only recover minimum wage, but that is not far from what I was making.)  The faculty union at the university tried to help me out, but without being in the union myself, there was little that they could do.

    In the end, I very much think that the time to push for the prevailing wage standards contained in the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act be extended to the employees of universities receiving federal support in the form of direct grants and financial aid. But this sort of effort requires organization for collective action, and that's what unions allow workers to do: stand together so we don't all fall apart.

    http://www.economicpopulist.org

    by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:19:47 PM PDT

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