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Email from a Union Buster

I get on the wing nut mailing lists on purpose. This bunch doesn’t think Unions are bad, they think they are great! Without Unions they would be out of work although they could find work replacing sewage cleaning services while using bendy straws.

Any comments in BOLD have been added, and BOLD ITALICS are original with emphasis added.

EFCA Updates Your EFCA Early Warning System Today, many company leaders heavily focus on earning quarterly profits and feel there’s ample time to react to union organizers. Unfortunately, the news media poorly covers the ramifications the Employee Free Choice Act to businesses. This Act leaves no time to react. Even the so-called “compromise” proposals being floated about have one thing in common – very short to no election periods. (They want the time to intimidate and frighten employees.) The problem is that in most cases companies have no idea union organizers are already soliciting employees to sign check cards. Two months ago one of our consultants (a former union organizer himself) uncovered union organizers (be very scared. Union organizers have poison fangs) offering employees money to sign union cards at a Call Center in Missouri. Yes, they’ll pay your employees money to sign a union card. The employer was shocked to learn this. ( I don’t see a reference to a published story, an arrest or a conviction) I certainly hope the idiots this bloodsucker is trying to take for their cash can use critical thinking.

And just a few weeks ago during some EFCA training we were conducting for one of our Casino clients another one of our consultants (another former union organizer who works with our clients to educate employees about the problems with unions) uncovered an “underground” card-signing effort (knowing you could get fired for legal activities might explain a lot) during the summer that not one company manager had even heard about.

The signs were not apparent to the untrained eyes of company leadership. As for our consultants…they are highly trained. Many of our consultants actually worked as union organizers (and all of our consultants have been trained by former organizers). They know the insider secrets to union organization.

Our consultants are the best of breed “bloodhounds” who can skillfully spot early union organizing signs. Wouldn’t it be great if you could train your managers to do the same thing these professionals can do almost “second nature”? It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Your leaders learn to do a really good job of observing employee behaviors for early signs of early union organization.

We talked last time about some of the basics – that the goal is not focusing on union campaigns, since the so-called “early warning sign” lists can change depending on your company’s culture or physical workplace. Instead the idea is to focus simply on behavior change.

Let me give you one quick example of what you might look for. The key is understanding what is going on behind the scenes. When we do our “Boot Camp” training for managers we have actual former organizers put them through an employee meeting – that way they get a chance to experience what it feels like through the eyes of an employees. (What, no spell check?)

For example, the organizer may tell an employee who is reluctant to sign a card at the union meeting that if the boss finds out they’ve talked to an organizer that they will get fired. Employees know the boss can fire them with almost no risk, how do you expect them to react?

Then you start to think about how that employee might behave the next day at work. As you begin to imagine interactions between that employee and their manager you can quickly see how behavior might be different. That’s just one simple scenario – there are dozens more that are more nuanced – but hopefully you get the picture.

Let’s assume you’ve learned those lessons (if you don’t already have training developed to do this – or if you are looking at a way to add some “sizzle” to what you already do – you can look at our management-training materials ).

What happens if your manager suspects that changed behavior is because of an organizing event? Remember it only takes 50% plus one to unionize one department in your firm. The EFCA requires no election…only sign (too cheap to use spell check?) check cards.

Departments with less than 25 people can be unionized within days. Time is of the essence. At this critical time there are a couple of key issues. The first one is legal – your leaders must know and understand the legal “do’s and don’ts” so they don’t accidentally engage in illegal interrogation of employees. Most unions are shocked to hear this, but (unlike what you read about so-called “union-busters” on the web) one of our core principles in campaigns is “don’t cheat”. As a labor lawyer, I take great pains to make sure each participant is immersed in that principle as a big part of our manager training.

The bottom line for us is they comprehend what is right and legal is also what works best. “I was trained so it must have been legal to fire the Union sympathizers” Since these situations are often a surprise to the first level leader (who may have gone through training months before) (who may be an idiot or a sadist who likes mistreating employees and doesn’t realize they might not like it) we teach them a quick script that gets them comfortable that they (and more importantly the coworker who they are talking to) know clearly that the conversation is not an interrogation.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to get them comfortable with the script. The second key issue is to make sure the first level leader takes the early warning sign seriously. In almost every one of the more than 10,000 union organizing events we have participated in there was at least one supervisor or manager who noticed the activity early on but never warned anybody about it because they didn’t think it was anything serious.

(Maybe they thought it was the employee’s right) That’s why we teach the “first breath” principle to managers during our training. I offer this free breath training to Union Busters, breathe in……breathe out…….Stop.

So it is critical for your managers to know exactly what to do to both RECOGNIZE and RESPOND to early warning signs of union organizing. If you haven’t already done this training (and maybe even if you have if it was just a legal lecture about the “do’s and don’ts” but didn’t cover some of the key concepts I’ve outlined here) do it NOW.

If you’re not a subject matter expert there are several good options. You can use some of our tools to deliver the content yourself (we know times are tough, so our “entry level” tool is a very inexpensive PowerPoint presentation you can download and start using TODAY). Our Tool Kit also contains a complete 3-hour training program you can deliver right out of the box. (But wait! There’s more! Order now and get a free rack and thumbscrews! )

Bigger organizations may want to consider having one of our former union organizers come in and deliver our “Jump Team” training directly to your leadership team. At the high end you can send your key “Jump Team” members to one of our 5-day Boot Camps where we put you through the same rigorous certification course our own consultants go through and where you earn certification as a counter-organizing “black belt” using our tools and “insiders” knowledge. Whatever you do, the key is to take action TODAY. Things are likely to start happening very quickly. To your success, Next Time: The Truth About “Union Scale” Wages

No where in the letter does the Union Buster ever talk about the employee, respect for the employee or steps employers can take like listening to their employees or trying to set up better working conditions or pay. The Union Buster never explains that the employer has all the time in the world to approach their employees.

All the employer has to do is hold a meeting starting tomorrow and be willing to listen. Americans know how the job should be done. They want their company to succeed, but they want to be recognized a a big part of that success and to be rewarded for their efforts.

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April 9th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

Union Members Kick Pirates Off Their Ship

Union Members fight off Pirates on the pirated ship, the US Maersk. Bravery and Union training credit get the credit.

Yesterday the crew of the pirated US Maersk Alabama regained control of their ship. Aboard the ship were UNION MEMBERS, you know, the do nothing, Union thugs that only know how to do nothing for something. The intensive training they received for this type of situation may have had some influence, even if it did cut into dividends.

In an interview with the father of the head of security on the Maersk NPR was told that the crew had all been given very specific and thourough training by professional on how to handle a pirate take over.

The right wing, including Boston’s own Howie Carr feel we should break international law and bomb these ships, sorry about the crew, they would be collateral damage. Pat Buchanan thinks we should bomb Somalia! I am sure if the crew died Howie would play the Ted Knight laugh track he plays for any death and suffering he reports.

SIU Profile
The Seafarers International Union, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters District/NMU, AFL-CIO, represents unlicensed United States merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades. The union also represents licensed U.S. mariners in the Great Lakes and inland sectors.

According to the SIU ships sailing under US flags carry union crews. Unions have always insisted that their members are trained to handle the job and now that they may face pirates they have insisted on anti terrorism training. Obviously it worked.

9/11/01, Union members (firefighters/police) are running into burning buildings when everyone else is running for their lives. When Sully, the pilot of Flight 1549 knew his plane was going down, the same way his pension and pay had crashed, he landed safely in the Hudson River thanks to his experience and his Union negotiated training. All of the fallen police officers during the last two weeks, Union members.

No Union is perfect but look at the evidence you have been seeing everyday, the evidence the right wing nuts don’t admit, Unions can save lives, they may just save the economy by showing the way. When the UAW has to compromise it is time for the boardroom to share the pain.
President Obama and the Democrats will pass some form of the Employee Free Choice Act, I hope it is not a version that has been gutted to appease the rich. A strong workforce is the core of a strong society.

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April 9th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, maersk, pirates, sefarers, siu | no comments