Posts Tagged ‘unionbusting’

Update: Ruby Ridge

Last week we alerted you to the shocking conditions workers face at the Ruby Ridge Dairy farm in Pasco, Washington. In response to long hours, inconsistent pay, and brutal work rules, workers at the dairy sought a voice on the job and a union through the United Farm Workers. Since trying to organize, workers say that management responded with the highest degree of intimidation and harassment, including the firing of union supporters and insinuations of violence.

Seeking to put pressure on the dairy’s owners, we asked that you join us in urging Northwest Farm Credit Services to stop lending to Ruby Ridge. A company that doesn’t value human rights does not deserve an extended line of credit.

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Workplace or prison camp?

His name is Dick Bengen, and at Ruby Ridge Dairy in Washington State, workers say he imposes some of the most unspeakable working conditions we’ve ever encountered. He carries a rifle in his truck and threatens pro-union employees with it. He shouts abusive language and racial slurs at his workers. He refuses to grant lunch breaks. And his employees have to drink from the same water barrels as his cows.

We’ve seen plenty of companies that treat their workers poorly—Ruby Ridge takes it to a whole new level. Read more »


Newly elected governors put workers’ rights in the crosshairs

It always defies reason when lawmakers attempt to limit workers’ rights to stand together to negotiate for a better life and a voice on the job. But some newly elected governors, like Nikki Haley in South Carolina and John Kasich in Ohio, have made it abundantly clear that it’s their intention to thwart those rights. Ironically enough, Haley has even chosen a ‘union avoidance’ attorney to head the state’s Department of Labor.

Let’s not forget, the people these policymakers are so eager to throw under the bus are the same middle-class workers whose consumer spending drives the state’s economy. Read more »


Tell IKEA CEO Mikael Ohlsson: Let Swedwood employees build a better future

If you’re trying to outfit your home on a budget, IKEA is pretty much the holy grail of interior decorating. The cafeteria food isn’t half bad either. But at Swedwood, an IKEA furniture subsidiary in Danville, VA, employees say they’re subjected to a whole slew of unsafe, unfair, and generally unpleasant working conditions—including unlawful intimidation and firing of union supporters during their ongoing attempt to join the Machinists (IAM).

That’s way too high a price to pay for any product, no matter how trendy. Read more »


Wisconsin’s unionbuster-elect

Preparing to become governor is certainly a full-time job. But maybe Wisconsin’s Governor-elect Scott Walker should take some time to read Blog at Work.

On Monday we reviewed Gallup’s recently released poll that asked Americans to rank the professions they trusted the most. Six of the top ten professions were jobs found in whole or part in the public sector. That’s a pretty good indication of the trust the American people have in public employees.

So why should any of this matter to Governor-elect Walker? Well, a day after we reported on the Gallup poll’s results, Walker announced that he would consider rescinding all collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public employees to solve the state’s budget problems. That’s right. Wisconsin doesn’t just have a Governor-elect, they have a Unionbuster-elect.

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A prescription for unionbusting

This holiday is shaping up to be a pretty bleak one for workers, at a time when the economy needs them most. Unemployment is hovering at 10 percent, and yesterday Congress failed extend unemployment benefits. Now, Express Scripts Inc. (ESI), one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management companies, announced plans to close a prescription processing facility that employs 650 people in a suburb northeast of Philadelphia.

Express Scripts, which verifies written prescriptions, checks claims histories and formularies, and calls physicians and patients, says they are closing the facility after seeking wage and benefit concessions that would bring labor costs at the plant in “line with costs at its facilities elsewhere in the country.”

That’s what the situation looks like on the outside. But the dirty truth is that the company is knee-deep in unionbusting. Read more »


The sweet, fizzy taste of victory

When tCoca-Cola logohe Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Company agreed to recognize their workers as union members, The Teamsters got a sweet, fizzy taste of victory.

The 310 workers at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company have been members of a small, independent union for over 40 years. But when they decided to merge with the larger Teamsters Local 150 back in April, the management at the factory refused to recognize their newly-affiliated union as a bargaining representative.

But now management has agreed to settle with the workers, only a week before the situation was to go before an administrative law judge from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). According to the settlement, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company must bargain in good faith with the Teamsters, process union grievances, and pay the union dues for which the employees had authorized payroll deduction. In other words, it’s got to follow the law.

Coca-Cola workers are not the only ones who achieved victory lately. Two weeks ago the Board ordered Regis Corporation, owners of salons like Cost Cutters and Master Cuts, to cease threatening to fire workers if they tried to join a union. They’re showing Big Business that workers’ have the right to organize and collectively bargain.


Big Business doesn’t belong at the ballot box

The 2010 midterms were not the only election this week. At Delta and Piedmont Airlines, flight attendants took a vote on union representation in their workplaces.

First, the bad news. By a very slim margin, flight attendants at Delta voted against forming a union. Wednesday’s outcome affects 21,000 employees total and, due to the recent Delta-Northwest merger, means that already-unionized Northwest flight attendants will lose the collective bargaining agreement they’ve maintained for over six decades.

As usual, it looks like the loss can be chalked up to a vicious anti-union campaign waged by the company in the lead up to the election. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) claims that Delta spent millions to influence its employees, and is poised to file charges with the National Mediation Board.

Now for the good news. Read more »


Regis Corporation: cutting away at workers’ rights

I’ve always had something of a haircut phobia. I’m always afraid it’s going to end up too short or too frizzy, or just plain bizarre (I still refuse to let my mom hang my high school graduation portrait—taken after one such incident). I’ve gone up to about three years without even getting a trim!

But now, beyond frizz and fly-aways, it looks like I really do have something to fear at the salon: unfair labor practices. Read more »


Undercover Boss: Pro-worker TV or Corporate PR?

The second season of “Undercover Boss” is well underway and the CEOs, like their first season counterparts, are finding work ‘in the trenches’ to be tough. But are these executives really interested in learning a lesson?

So far this season, we’ve seen Choice Hotels, whose CEO Steve Joyce took a stand against healthcare reform and opposes legislation to protect workers’ rights to form unions. Then there’s DirecTV, the satellite TV giant with a history of blocking its employees’ rights to join a union and bargain collectively across the country. And last night, the show featured Chiquita Brands International, a company that pleaded guilty to illegally funding foreign terrorist organizations in 2007.

There’s no question these corporations need a PR boost, and “Undercover Boss” promises exactly that. It’s less clear what service the show is doing for its supporting cast—the hardworking employees that keep these companies on the road to success. Read more »