This is EXACTLY why the Employee Free Choice Act must be passed. This story is making its way across the entire country RIGHT NOW. Too bad Orange County will take the brunt as the place where this happened. (For once it's not Ulster.)
The Teamsters Local 445 were contacted by employees of Concept Packaging, the country's second largest bottler of nail polish, and asked to come organize the plant. The people there were working years for minimum wage and had no rights and no benefits. Not even a sick day! The employees met with the union and 40 workers signed a petition asking Local 445 to represent them. They went to the National Labor Relations Board and the Board set a date of November 14, 2008 to have an election.
Right after the election date was set, the owner Jeffrey Fanning, began firing longtime employees who signed the petition to have a union.
Fanning fired 30 of the 40 people whose names appeared on that petition. This obviously scared the crap out of the remaining employees. Threats, firings and intimidation have a way of making even American workers back down from trying to better themselves. Truth is, it must scare non-American ones too - but that's a whole other story.
Martin Rosas, a fork lift operator for 19 years said he makes more than minimum wage but has no health insurance or sick days. "I come to work sick because I need the money. I think everybody here don't need the union."
Gloria Garcia, has been a line worker for 7 years and still makes minimum wage said, "I don't know why they want a union, pay is ok for me".
OSHA is currently investigating workers complaints (lodged before the protest) of toxic fumes and poor ventilation. "We don't need the masks," said Garcia, "It's just a little smell".
Another employee said she wanted to take a vacation but didn't dare to ask. I'm afraid to ask, they'll say, "you might as well go home."
Amazingly - at the "protest" - most of the employees seemed to have difficulty with the english language BUT somehow they made these perfect signs all in english. They must have spent much of their minimum wage pay at the office supply stores for poster boards, paint, markers and stencils and wooden handles.
I am sure that Mr. Fanning couldn't have had anything to do with the protest, buying the materials or making the signs they had. Could he? Nooooo, that would violate Federal Law.
The Employee Free Choice Act would have saved 30 people from being fired and allowed the workers to have what they wanted in the first place - a chance to bargain and make a decent wage. Now they are out in the street forced to publicly humiliate and make fools of themselves - fighting to have no rights, no benefits and demanding to be paid minimum wage.
How sad and ridiculous for America in 2008.
Obama will pass the Employee free Choice Act and change this bullshit.