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Debt Consolidators, Unite!
Written by Erin Johansson   
August 21, 2008

Eye on the NLRB logo We hear of janitors, nurses, and auto workers collectively fighting to improve their working conditions, but the financial sector isn’t known as a hotbed of organizing activity. Yet a recent case of debt consolidator solidarity should inspire others in this rapidly changing industry. Last week, the National Labor Relations Board charged Debt Settlement USA with illegally firing four debt consultants when they stood up to fight a proposed wage cut, and for illegally barring employees from discussing pay issues with each other.

When the Scottsdale, AZ, employees of Debt Settlement USA heard of a new company policy that was going to cut their wages, they were understandably angry. A supervisor overheard several employees discussing the pay cut and threatened them and told them to stop talking about the issue with each other. During a meeting with the office manager, four employees raised their objections to the new policy. They were immediately fired for “inappropriate behavior, insubordination, and a negative attitude during and after a team meeting.”

The administrative law judge ruled that the company illegally interfered with its employees’ right to collectively protest wages, and ordered it to reinstate the four employees. If the NLRB does its job and gets these employees back to work, free to protest whatever bad policies come their way, then there’s hope for office dwellers everywhere to speak out.