Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Know, I Know....

Do any of you remember the promise of America? You know, the reason all of our relatives immigrated here in the first place? The promise of a good job for all, the opportunity to have a rewarding career, and the chance for a life that was more than just going to work and coming home? Yeah, that promise, now it's all coming back to you, isn't it? With the tax cuts and all the restrictions placed on corporate America today, corporations are looking to cut back everywhere they can; they want to save every dollar so those saved dollars can go into the pockets of the highest ranking employees and the shareholders of the companies. These companies first cut the number of jobs to the bare minimum. Then, they cut the pay for any new hires. Benefits?? Forgettaboutit!! Benefits can cost a non-union employee, $88.00 per week; if he or she wants to add their spouse, I've seen benefits as high as $178.00/week!! That way of life is unsustainable for a lower waged worker. Myself, for example could not afford to pay $680.00 a month for med/den/vis benefits for my wife and I, yet, if I was forced to take that employer's offer, we would have had to go without medical coverage.

So, what is my point to all the blather?? Well, the only way to get anywhere close to the promise of America in today's economy is to get our lower and middle class workers into a labor union!! We need to get back to the days when 1 out of 3 of this country's workers belonged to a labor union!! Then, and only then, will we return to the promise of America that the parents of the baby boomer generation enjoyed!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sad State Of Affairs In Our Country

How have we turned so far away from Labor Unions in this great country of ours? Yeah, I realize that a lot of the reasoning behind the anti-union sentiment is from the bottom line watchers; but still - Labor Unions built this country and got it into the progressive future of industrialization. For this great nation to be force fed a diet of anti-union propaganda on a daily basis from the political leaders and the heads of big industry is a shame. Those same leaders have more than likely never held a really crappy minimum wage job - nor were they abused by harsh working conditions or verbally abused and threatened by their supervisors. When you get a chance, take a look at this story about our brothers and sisters that work at the Motts plant in New York state. This is a real eye opener if you have not been following it, pretty much the way big industry tries to bully the labor force it has working for them.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Weakness At The Top

Well, I got a call the other day from a Shop Steward telling me about some concerns he had. He met the new head of his Local when the man came to the company and met the GM. This Steward is having unity problems within his rank & file because of the weak contract he has to deal with. They have a lot of newer employees that don't really know the value of a union contract, so, they question why they should keep paying the monthly dues. This Steward was hoping the Local leadership would make a strong first impression on the company, and that did not happen. The Steward told his Local that he needs a mini organizing event, and because of the scheduling of the drivers, he want's it to be 2 consecutive days. The Local said he would look into doing that. The problem is the Steward does not feel the Local leadership can instill the confidence in the rank & file that needs to be shown.

So, what can be done? It is definitely a tough situation: the Steward does not want to jeopardize his relationship with his Local, obviously, however he does know what needs to be done. So, we are going to reach out to the organizers and see if once the dates are set (provided the Local goes through with the promise) several boot camp organizers can show up for the event. We will go through the Stewards Biz Agent to help coordinate and see how that works out. Bottom line: if the Local leadership does not do what is in the best interest of the Local membership and the rank and file that the Steward represents, we will file a complaint of failure to perform with the IBT. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Okay, the TDU... Does anyone really know what these people do? I have tried to talk to them and got nowhere...

Monday, June 28, 2010

So, the company is playing word games with us, they want us to be available on our 1 day off (today 4 me) but we aren't "on call". WTF? Yeah, I'm on it w/labor law dog.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Happens When The Company Plays Games...

We have all been there; working at the company that insists on playing games and lowering morale. We feel powerless at times and frustrated, we wonder what can we do. Well, after you go through all the normal channels at a company with a labor contract - grievances and arbitration's - you still have options to send more pressure. Every state will have an OSHA office, and for the most part you can make anonymous complaints to these offices. Now, granted, anonymous complaints do not have the weight of giving them all of your information and then dealing with the illegal retaliation by the company that is sure to follow. That being said, it is your right as an American to report unsafe/illegal operations by the company you work at. Apart from OSHA, every state has an office of the DOT that can be contacted as well. Now, unfortunately, what we are running into is a manpower shortage at the federal agencies. That is they are either under staffed or the staff is brand new at a lower pay rate and is not fully aware of the all the rules and regulations that your company may be violating. Needless to say, the calls and emails still need to be made. These companies that are violating worker rights and abusing their workers have got to be stopped.My own son is in an unfortunate position at his new job... it is a manufacturing firm and non-union. He is being targeted and threatened because of his perceived "poor job performance" in reality he has been under trained for his position in the 2 months he has been there. The only thing I can do is go after them with code violations through the city/county. And, I am. I fully believe in poking with a sharp stick anywhere and any time, period. These people won't know why they are being investigated, but they will get an anonymous call from a pay phone explaining that they need to treat their employees better, or they will be poked again for other violations. Yeah, it's old school, but it works, and you just keep escalating the complaints until you get to the federal level if necessary.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Not Just Employers That Are The Problem.

That's right, sadly there are Union Locals out there that don't necessarily represent the rank and file as well as they should. We get emails about Locals that don't want to give the support to members that work at a small company. Yes, the members pay their monthly dues, but, some Locals don't want to be/can't be bothered with making the drive or doing their due diligence rank & file companies. The fact that Unions have become a victim of the economy like everyone else, is understandable; but when they decide that a smaller company is too far to come out to, or too small to spend the time discussing issues with is unacceptable. There are several Locals that are on our list for hammering due to this exact behavior. We won't tolerate it, and neither should you!