Don't miss USW President Leo Gerard on Bill Moyers, some thoughts from people who have never been union

I got a call that last nights episode of Bill Moyers, which was an interview with Leo Gerard, the President of The United Steelworkers Of America, was a must view for anyone concerned with working in America. It will re-air here in New York on PBS Channel 13 this Sunday at 7:00PM, you can check out the details of the show at Bill Moyers Journal and find out the next air date and channel in your region here

Here's the promo:
Bill Moyers sits down with United Steelworkers' International President Leo Gerard to discuss seeking economic justice for workers in the middle of an economic crisis and how he sees the future of American manufacturing. Gerard shares his thoughts on how unions will fare under the Obama administration, what kind of stimulus might be needed and what the future of American industry might look like.

Looking forward to seeing this

There is also a blog on the Employee Free Choice Act at the Bill Moyers site and here's two of my favorite comments thus far, both are from people who have never been union:
Monica Fiedler: "Yes, yes, yes! Never been in a union, but for once I was shouting while watching and listening. Since the Reagan administration, American working people have been under (successfull) attack. Not for the first time, of course, but certainly since the economic surge after World War II. Capital and labor are irrevocably linked and interdependent. Destroy the one, and the other is sure to follow. Force Americans to produce in competition with third world workers, and America will lean ever more into becoming a third world state. At last someone who states the problems succinctly, and not through the hocus pokus of the "economic experts." Hopefully the American people can come together and bring about the massive changes needed."
BarryP: "I'm a retired professional -- never in a union. But reading many of the comments on this page, I see the fruits of several decades of successful anti-union propaganda.

Unions? They're "thugs". They're "greedy". They make American business "uncompetitive". How easily the words (the "memes" like those) come to mind.

We've learned those words from the same think tanks that taught us all to oppose "death taxes" (even though 99% of us will benefit from those tax revenues and pay none of those taxes).

We learned it from the same special interests that taught us since Reagan's days that government (and especially regulators) are bad, and the market is always efficient (except when it collapses of its own greed and unregulated excesses).

Why are our minds so malleable? Why are we so easily persuaded to call multi-million dollar CEO bonuses "market-based compensation", but to call hardworking Americans "greedy" when they seek the help of a union to ask for health care, retirement benefits and a decent wage to support their families."
Read more recent articles on the corporate attack against the Employee Free Choice Act:
Thanks to Bill Hohlfeld of the Local 46 Labor Management Cooperative Trust for the heads up on the story


Anonymous said...

By: Melissa Allison Seattle Times business reporter

Starbucks has reached a settlement in principle over a Michigan barista whom the National Labor Relations Board said was fired in June because of his union activities.

An administrative trial that was scheduled for today has been canceled, and the agreement is expected to be signed this week, said Chet Byerly, resident officer for the NLRB in Grand Rapids. He would not disclose details of the proposed agreement.

A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed that it is working on a settlement.

It is the third time in a month that Starbucks has faced action from the NLRB regarding the Industrial Workers of the World union.

Last month, an NLRB administrative law judge found that Starbucks took part in unfair labor practices at several of its New York cafes.

Last week, the Seattle chain settled a separate NLRB dispute in Michigan.

All three cases were initiated by baristas affiliated with the IWW, a century-old union that has worked for several years to improve conditions for Starbucks workers.

In New York last month, an NLRB judge ordered Starbucks to give back jobs to three former workers and compensate them for lost earnings. The company also must post notices informing employees of their labor-organizing rights.

Starbucks plans to appeal the ruling, according to spokeswoman Tara Darrow.

Such appeals often take a year and might last longer now that the NLRB's board has lost three of its five members, said University of Tennessee law professor Jeff Hirsch, a former attorney at the NLRB.

Last week's settlement stemmed from a complaint that barista and IWW member Cole Dorsey made to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration about a leaky air conditioner.

In interviewing at least one Starbucks worker about the matter, attorneys at a local law firm representing Starbucks neglected to issue legally required warnings that help prevent coercive questioning.

"We contend that these warnings are not necessary when dealing with an occupational safety charge. The NLRB disagreed," Darrow said in an e-mail. "We elected to settle the matter to avoid litigation."

Starbucks did not admit wrongdoing but must post a notice in the affected store in Grand Rapids "saying they won't do it again," said NLRB Regional Director Stephen Glasser.

Dorsey, the barista who complained about the air conditioner, was fired in June after working for Starbucks almost two years. The NLRB charges that he was dismissed because of his union activities.

He was fired eight months after Starbucks and the IWW settled an agreement over unionizing efforts by employees at his Grand Rapids store. At that time, Starbucks agreed to post notices in that store advising employees of their unionizing rights.

Such settlements never come with fines and rarely with admissions of wrongdoing. The Employee Free Choice Act, which stalled in the last session of Congress, would allow the NLRB to order fines in some situations, according to former NLRB attorney Hirsch. The bill faces strong opposition from the business community.

In October, Starbucks settled a similar complaint in Minneapolis regarding another employee who claimed he was fired for encouraging co-workers to join the IWW.

By Poster: This is one more reason why we need the Employee Free Choice Act Now!



Steven said...

I"m going to try to find the USW interview online. No cable here currently.

Joe638NYC said...

Thanks Employee Free Choice Now, nice blog.

Steve, it should be on Moyers site in a few days

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