Friday, October 24, 2008

Employer Intimidation Forces Workers To Publicly Humiliate Themselves And Denounce Union

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.


Anonymous said...

Shame on the employer for exploiting minorities. Isn't it illegal to retaliate against employees who sign a petition to join a union? If it isn't, it should be.

Anonymous said...

Its bad enough this piece of crap owner hires these mexicans that you can tell aren't even Americans....than he abuses them and makes it bad for the American ones who work there. Even the stupid toothless white lady. Who by the way, should get the union in there for the dental plan alone.

Anonymous said...

Poor Fanning instead of putting his profits in his pocket, he will be giving it to some high priced union busting attorney.
What brand name nail polish does he package. Maybe they would like to here how he treats his employees

No health insurance, no vacation, no sick time. I bet Fanning has all of these.

bullhorner said...

This is so blatant, I'm glad that it is on video so people can see for themselves what employers like Fanning do when their EMPLOYEES want to have a union represent them.

He's worried they might ask for $7.50 and a sick day - as he wizzes past them in his mercedes.
(for all of you business owners, its fine to have a Mercedes or a Rolls but the point is don't screw the people just because you can)

If Fanning thinks that people observing all of this don't see him as the bad guy,the schmuck, the asshole, then he is just an idiot too. Those people didn't make those signs or buy the material to make them. It is ILLEGAL for an employer to fire employees engaged in protected activity,interfere in the employees choice of a representative and to intimidate them into abandoning their rights through fear.This is TEXT BOOK EXPLOITATION at its best.

Maybe the FEDS, OSHA and the NLRB will come in or better yet, IMMIGRATION. This only chills efforts for all American workers when an employer can orchestrate this kind of worker abuse and get away with it.

These poor people have BEEN FORCED TO sell their souls to this jerk but have really trampled their fellow workers who were once their friends - all for minimum wage, no benefits, and to work in toxic conditions with no protection.

People should forward this link so others can see for themselves that it does happen.

How would you like your kids or mother working there and being humiliated,helpless and exploited? These people are somebody's mothers and kids.

OBAMA we need you bad.

Anonymous said...

These workers are there with those signs because bossman Jeff Fanning scares them so much they are protesting against themselves.

Fanning is a jackass employer. He has really been taking advantage of these uneducated people for years but now its out in the open so everyone can see.

I wonder if this qualifies him for some IDA money?

Anonymous said...

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. These people are as close to paid slaves as you can get.
Begging Massa for twenty more lashes. In fact, this probably closely resembles some of the slaves reactions when they were told they were free. Some were so beaten down and still be so scared, that they adamantly defended their owners rights to enslave them.

Now instead of picking cotton in Georgia they make perfume caps in Newburgh.

Anonymous said...

Is this just Bullhorn and one other character writing the same thing, just 5 different ways? Unbelievable.

I worked for UPS in a non union position, for 6 years, benefits, great salary, STOCK options (not available to the union guys), time off. I worked for IBM for 8 years, UNLIMITED sick/personal time, better salary, better health benefits. Now I work in healthcare insurance, even better money, obviously better health benefits, and a decent time off system. All non union. I wonder how I did that?

Anonymous said...

Being a suckass? Or one who tramples over your fellow workers to get ahead? You pick it.

bullhorner said...

This one is definitely me...listen up 5:56 pm....Seems obvious to me that you just can't keep a job. Both IBM and UPS (companies where most people actually START AND FINISH A CAREER dumped your worthless, scabby little ass and the smart money says the healthcare place being next in a long line of your former employers. Let us know when that happens so we can have a party.

At least we have a poster boy now for the Scabby Asshole of the Year award here on Hudson Valley Labor Report...

By the way, is the lady on the video with one tooth who doesn't know what a paid vacation is related to you by any chance? She doesn't like the union

Anonymous said...

What seems like a somewhat organized gathering with those signs,they don't seem to know what it's all about.This is definitely not on the level!Smells like employer intimidation to me.

What's unbelievable is someone who by their own admition has moved from job to job to get better pay,and benefits,But yet knocks down others who by joining a union can do the same for themselves.I wonder if you gave a two week notice when you left each job, oh wait that's what unselfish people do. sorry

Anonymous said...

hey 5:56 - if you were non-union at UPS, it means you were management. That's very nice of you to sit in your ivory tower and look down upon everyone else. But when employers exploit their workers, it's time to unionize. You need to read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Consider yourself lucky that you work(ed) for companies that treats its workers with respect. But don't be such a snob and think that others are whiners when they're mistreated. I bet you don't work for minimum wage, do you? Walmart is known for making people work on their break and treating their employees like shit. And they're scared to death of the passage of the EFCA. If they treated their employees like they're its greatest asset (as they are), they wouldn't feel threatened by a union. And this guy Fanning sounds like a piece of shit - a union would be the best thing that ever happened to his employees.

And, for the record, I'm NOT bullhorner...far from it!

Anonymous said...

I guess it is easier to add and track years to determine how 'good' you are and how much you should be paid, than it is to track their record of accomplishments.

bullhorner said...

Hey 5:56 pm come back and visit real soon, it's fun smashing you around. And bring some of your non union friends with you too. We can use a good laugh at your logic of life. Loser.

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:56, you must be the one and only NO HIT against the Electrical License in Ulster County. That makes you the designated duncski for the area since you are the only one that doesn't get the benefit of having licensed electricians working in people's homes. Oh, and by the way, you claim to have worked at UPS for six years? Why did you leave? My uncle worked for UPS for over 30 years working his way up the hard way. What's your story, smart ass? Keep coming back and bring your fiends too. We enjoy smacking you around!

Anonymous said...

No Ivory tower, just the 'taj-mahwah', aka, the 'pink palace'. If you are a UPS employee, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

You can mock me. You can trash me. Thing is, I'm not completely against unions, so trashing me is akin to trashing unions. I feel and understand they have their place in America, but they should remain A-Political.

In fact, during my IBM years, I felt IBM was taking away too many of our benefits, went to a few union meetings, and signed my name to a IBEW card. I felt no fear of employer retrobution, and neither did the hundreds of other employees who signed their names too. But in the end, we realized unionizing would make it harder to climb the ladder, based on achievment. Nobody starts working for IBM, thinking they will be there until retirement, not ANYMORE. So, years of service as the sole basis for pay and movement was not applicable.

Anonymous said...

I am union and have everything you have, but with one exception. I have a contract guarenteeing them, and nobody will take them away the IBM took retires health insurance away.
It is fun smacking this management scum around.

Anonymous said...

You've been around. What's the matter can't do your job very well?
Or did you treat the workers at UPS and IBM the same as Fanning does. I bet the teamsters at UPS worked you over pretty good and ran you off.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that IS 5:56 on the video with the tooth

Anonymous said...

If you knew how stupid you sound, like the guy who knows alittle about UPS, you would shut up.

UPS considers its 3000 IS employees as management. Oh, btw, IS means Information Systems. Programmers! Computer Geeks! You get the drift.

We move with the technology, so shut your pie holes about why I change jobs. You just don't know what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

If IBM was unionized, they wouldn't have taken away so many of the perks and benefits. Their health insurance policy is a sham - it costs thousands of dollars a year for shitty coverage. They also reduced the pension benefits, which they never would've gotten away with if there was a union.

Anonymous said...

You move because THEY MOVE YOU. If you were any good they would keep you. Pretty soon they will be emailing your work here from India and we will laugh at you in your walmart greeter vest living on your non union retirement.

More people are joining unions every year and seeing the light, not making assinine comments like you and getting them shoved down their throats. Your lot is dwindling and thank God for that.

Maybe they will need an "IS" jerk like you at the perfume factory in Newburgh when the heathcare place shitcans

Anonymous said...

You are implying there is something wrong with Walmart Greeters? You asshole! I get it, because they aren't unionized, you think of them as a sub-class.

This is why I come to the blog, to watch you 'labor' guys belittle the people you say you are for.

Regarding moving jobs because of technology, companies do not move as fast as technology. If I were still at UPS, I'd probably be still writing in COBOL. COBOL programmers' salaries have risen very slowly. IBM was C, C++, OS2/REXX. Again, the need for these were big when I moved in, but have since waned. My current employer requires Java and .NET (I am sure some words you might recognize), which is among the latest techs tools used in business.

Companies usually hire NEW employees for new technology. Their established employees are typically tied to the technology they were originally hired for, so companies KEEP them where they are.

Bottom line, each time I moved jobs, I moved WITH technology. Nothing against the folks who stay long term with, say UPS. It is comforting to work with the same old hammer for years. But you risk becomming a 'dinosaur', and you risk never reaching your salary potential.

Anonymous said...

What a dope IS is. He has no idea what its like to work in a union. I get 5 weeks vacation, 12 sick days a year, health insurance, job security, guanteed retirement check. All you'll have is a dark ring around your neck.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 weeks vacation buddy, and UNLIMTED sick and personal days, BUDDY. The idea is, so long as I get my work done, my employer doesn't really care whether or not I am physically in the office. Telecommuting is something you 'labor' guys will never get

Anonymous said...

Translation: he works in his underwear

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe those workers could be that ignorant about the benefits that a union contract could give them!! One thing I do remember from the THR news article was seeing a BRAND NEW MERCEDES-BENZ SEDAN parked in the entrance of Concept Packaging, I am sure that must be "snaggle tooths" new ride that she bought with her minimum wage no benefit job.

Anonymous said...

Go back to your dead end job, until they outsource it to some other county, then you can go to work for Fanning.

Anonymous said...

3:22 - no one is denigrating the Walmart greeters or regarding them as a subclass (you asshole - as long as you're starting the name-calling). Not everyone has the resources that you evidently do. It takes more than brains to go to college - money, encouragement, and self-confidence are critical for success.

Most employees of Walmart are not college graduates, and are targets for employer abuse (making them work through their break, etc.). Walmart has been successfully sued several times for breaking labor laws. There are few Davids who have the courage to take on a Goliath.

You seem to be well educated and have your nose so far up in the air that you have no idea what it's like to work for a scumbag employer. I had an employer (in Kingston) who was so cheap that he wouldn't turn the heat on in the winter - we were indoors and had to wear long underwear and a coat to stay warm.

I am a college graduate, and I am well aware of what it's like to have employers who only care about the bottom line instead of their employees.

Apparently, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and never got your hands dirty (wiping your ass doesn't count).

You don't realize the value of a union in a workplace that otherwise would be ripe for employee abuse. Among other things, unions protect employees from unscrupulous employers. Unions protect employees' First Amendment rights (i.e., Freedom of Speech - they can complain about their employer without fear of retribution), demand safety in the workplace (OSHA doesn't come in unless someone complains or there's an industrial accident), and prevent arbitrary dismissals.

Judging from your comments about IBM, you left because you couldn't climb the corporate ladder if there was a union. You probably gave a lot of head to get ahead.

Unions don't require knee pads in order to be successful...

Anonymous said...

Obama says he will punish businesses for outsourcing. So, unfortunately for you, a vote for Obama is a vote to save my job. Boy, that put you into a predicament, don't it.

Anonymous said...

8:56, You are totally wrong about the silver spoon thing. I had parents who SACRAFICED to get me a good education. My dad was a union man himself, ConEd. We didn't vacation in Florida, or Aspen, we bought used cars, we didn't get our first color TV, until 1982. We got 13 stations on the tube, and whatever we could pick up on UHF. My folks did all this, so we could afford Catholic school. How many kids today DON'T have a cell phone, some video game system, 1000 channels on cable, their own computer, etc. Their parents pay for all that, and they will likely shell over 100K for their kid's college.

I worked at a State Park in LaGrange, year round, to pay my own college. Hands dirty? At the SP, I worked in maintenance, golf course groundsman, and as an unlicensed 'gasp' electrician (well, as an apprentice anyway)

As for college, two years community, two years private. I commuted all 4 years! Kids now a days want to go to Texas, VaTech, CSU, ASU, etc. What is so much better there, than staying local? And who pays for that?

Does college cost more now, than 25 years ago? Yes it does. Why does it? Because GOVERNMENT is giving away free money to Colleges, via Students. Colleges figured, if there were billions available, let's get it.

We are all angry at "Big Oil", it's time to get angry at "Big University"

So anyway, I worked hard for where I am, nothing was 'given' to me, but my parents' complete devotion to their children, and will make no apologies for it.

But, here is the big but. Because I do NOT wholeheartedly support Unions. Because I do not think Unions are the answer to EVERY problem. Because I think Unions actually SLOW production and decrease quality down to the lowest common denominator, I am an Asshole. That makes so much sense.

bullhorner said...

Don't flatter yourself - thats not the only reason you're an asshole.

Anonymous said...

I hear Fanning made those signs. I know one of the workers there.

Anonymous said...

hahahaha. enjoy those sweeeet stock options, you management sucker.

and enjoy watching management speed up your pace of work until you get carpal tunnel, your kids forget they have a dad, and they dump you over the side when they find someone 10K cheaper in bangalore.