Posts Tagged ‘IBEW’

Attorneys’ choice to organize underscores universal need for workplace protection

From the crowded aisles of a 747 to the rows of a tomato farm, unions have a role in every workplace. All of America’s workers deserve fair pay and respect, whether they are an autoworker or an attorney. Did I say attorney? Yes, even lawyers, who know the law and their workplace rights better than most, can benefit from having a voice through their union. Just ask those working in the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

Tired of scant benefits, stagnant pay, and, most importantly, not having any power to change things in their workplace, these men and women decided to form a union with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Like a growing number of professional workers, the attorneys understood that they would be better protected if they had a say in their workplace. Read more »


Undercover Boss conceals truth about DirecTV

world's worst boss mugIf you weren’t busy cheering on the gangsters of Boardwalk Empire last Sunday (like one very enthusiastic American Rights at Work blogger), perhaps you saw the newest episode of CBS’s Undercover Boss. This week’s featured company was DirecTV, a national broadcast satellite service.

In the episode, DirecTV President and CEO Mike White went undercover in his own company where he “discovered” that employees are spending their own money for requisite supplies and for equipment failures that are out of their control.

Unfortunately, that kind of disregard for employees and their rights isn’t an isolated incident at the company.  DirecTV has a history of unionbusting and mistreating their workers, which Undercover Boss decided didn’t make for interesting television.

In some states, such as Georgia and Florida, DirecTV hired the notorious unionbusting firm Bell and Associates to try and prevent its workers from exercising their right to form a union with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). And across the country, the company gets around providing benefits such as overtime compensation for DirecTV installers by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Is it any wonder why DirecTV is facing no less than six class action lawsuits from employees?

Check out this interview with Mark Smith, a call center worker at DirecTV’s Missoula facility, who was fired for attempting to form a union.


Moving full steam ahead to bring streetcars and good jobs back to America

Many cities are turning to streetcars to ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions, but until recently, no U.S. manufacturer was meeting the growing demand. Then in 2005, Oregon Iron Works, Inc., seized the opportunity, forming United Streetcar to produce state-of-the-art, modern streetcars. After winning a competitive bid from the city of Portland, OR, United Streetcar rolled out its premiere tram in 2009—the first American-made modern streetcar in nearly 60 years. The company is now using its 250 union workers to build additional streetcars for Portland, and its cars are also operating in Seattle, WA, and Tucson, AZ.

Oregon Iron Works’ longstanding relationship with the Ironworkers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has allowed United Streetcar to build a collaborative, empowering partnership with its workers. Shop-floor design meetings bring worker ideas in at the ground level, and the company actively solicits employee feedback on all projects and processes, making the company “better, stronger, and more cost-effective,” according to United Streetcar President Chandra Brown. “The union is helpful and can be an important piece of the company and its success,” she says. Read more »


IBEW members confront Gulf Coast crisis

News on the BP oil spill might slowly be leaking out of the headlines, but the repercussions of the disaster on the environment, the economy and people’s health are hardly fading away.

One organization working tirelessly to clean up the Gulf is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). They’re out on the water every day cleaning up oil in an effort to improve the lives of local residents.

“This is my backyard. This is what I’ve grown up doing,” one IBEW electrician said in the video. “This is our life. If we don’t try to save this, we won’t have a tomorrow for our kids.”

Check out IBEW’s new video about their efforts to contain the spill, as well as the catastrophe’s effect on Louisiana. The rebuilding efforts from Hurricane Katrina have hardly started, and now they have to contend with BP’s disaster too.


Video: What really goes on in union organizing campaigns

Cross-posted from

Were you ever bullied at school? Ever get your lunch money stolen? I bet you thought that behavior would stop once you grew up.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case when you’re a worker trying to form a union. Here’s a statistic that’ll get your blood boiling: 78 percent of workers are forced to attend closed-door meetings with management during union organizing drives. And how much can employers be fined by the National Labor Relations Board for illegally threatening, intimidating, or firing their workers? A whopping zero dollars and zero cents.

Watch this video from the IBEW (featuring actors from the acclaimed HBO series The Wire), showing exactly how such a closed-door meeting might go:

Read more »