Wednesday, June 25, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court allows state monies to be used by companies to fight union organizing! This makes me so angry!

Supreme Court strikes down California law on unions. Basically letting companies that receive state funding use those tax payer monies for anti-union campaigns! Unbelievable. And all under the guise of free speech!

I have been in the trenches as a labor organizer and have witnessed the off balance process of workers trying to become union. The company has all of the advantages and this is going to be yet another step for workers to climb. I had an organizing campaign in Bakersfield at a plant called Dopaco. There were 160 workers there. The company held anti union one on one meeting with the workers to intimidate them individually. Then they would have group meetings and have the Human Resource person conjure up tears (Not kidding) and a bogus story of how a bad union affected their family. They had management do a buffet breakfast at the plant with supervisors dishing up food. They literally shut down production to talk to the workers as a group! Then a BBQ on the premises with Mariachi band and blow up playground for employees kids. The company put out shirts to wear on the floor expressing their non-union stance. Then at the end, a movie about union strikes. Literature was passed out at work along the way demonizing all aspects of unions. Promises of better care were made. And of course, they also focused on the big bad union salesman, me. If I was just a plant worker just like them, how come Mr. Marks make so much money? (I think I was at $63,000 a year then and living in motel rooms.)

By the time all was said and done, Dopaco spent around 1.6 million to keep the employees non union. They could have written each worker a check of $10,000! The funny thing is, a little over a year later, I was called back for a second attempt since the company did not keep their promises. That story is for later.


Anonymous said...

Richard, Richard, Richard...

Read the damn opinion before going ballistic. It actually makes sense if you do.

Pedro said...

Richard, there is an opening for you at Sun Valley. All you need is a fake ID and a bogus SSN.

Anonymous said...

For unions, it has been one blow after another. But don't despair. Many people though unions were beaten in the late 1920's. Then Roosevelt was elected, the Wagner Act was passed, and the greatest days of unions gave America its middle-class.

Just remember the biggest factors different now than then. Our industrial base has been hacked up and moved overseas. God help us if we ever have to fight a war. The USA doesn't even make its own steel anymore.

The second most important factor may be that people have lost the sense that what they do as individuals has much impact on the world. You could call this the hopelessness factor. Obama is counteracting this hopelessness factor, but he is only a politician. A surge in hopefulness among working people, if it is to achieve any lasting goals, needs to be organized around the Union model.

Remember the line of the old union song?

"...On the 4th of July
The politicians say
Vote for us
and we'll raise your pay"

The chorus goes like this:

"Get thee behind me Satan,
Travel on down the line.
I am a Union man.
I'm gonna leave you behind!"

samoasoftball said...

7:07pm- Thank you for that great post! Wish I had made it.

Anonymous said...

This is a really rotten ruling.

But at least they threw out that unconstitutional DC handgun ban.

Anonymous said...

Obama was on both sides of that DC handgun ruling. I wish I was smart enough to be on both sides of all the important issues!

Tom Sebourn said...

Most companies that have a union, deserve one! Happy, content and prosperous workers are unlikely to want to form a union. Companies like Wal-Mart, that refuse to follow labor laws and force their employees to sue to recover break and overtime money deserve unions.
Now we have an anti workers rights Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao. She used to be at the Heritage Foundation, a right winged think tank. Then the Supreme Court allows state monies to fight unions! When CEO's make thousands of times a workers wages, they invite contempt. Worker productivity is up year after year but only CEO pay goes up these days. It's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

"Happy, content and prosperous workers are unlikely to want to form a union."

Right. They are likely already to belong to a union.