Confessions of a Union Organizer

Understanding Corrupt Union Officials

Understanding Corrupt Union Officials

It Happened Before. It's Happening Now. Will It Happen Again?

We have been over-inundated with news of corrupt union officials stealing their members' dues monies. It’s no secret that unions have a history of corruption, but it still seems as though many people are surprised when they read about these abuses of power.

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A Tale of Tube City - When a Union-Free Company Lets the Union Select Job Candidates

A Tale of Tube City - When a Union-Free Company Lets the Union Select Job Candidates

While I was working as a union official, it was very rare for any medium-to-large organizing campaign to be won with 100% of the votes. The one and only time my team and I experienced it was due to a serious miscalculation on the company's part.

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Driving a Tribal Mentality

Driving a Tribal Mentality

How Unions Lead Workers Against Their Self-Interest

Understanding the tribal mentality of unions can help your organization stay union-free.

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Organizing Emergency Medical Services

Organizing Emergency Medical Services

It Really Was This Easy

EMS companies are all very vulnerable to organization, because public opinion and perception of them is critical to their success and ridiculously easy to attack.

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"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

In Union Alliances

Listening to the Rolling Stones last week reminded me of an alliance forged between the California Nurses Association (CNA) and the United Steelworkers (USW). While the USW wouldn't get what they wanted, the CNA surely got what they needed.

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Hotel California

Hotel California

Livin' it up at the Hotel, bringing their alibis and stabbing with their steely knives. Once unions are in, you can checkout, but they will never leave.

Unions historically had a difficult time organizing hotel- and associated service-workers, despite the fact that they are generally paid lower wages and work with higher demands than most other workers. They have a lower level of sophistication when it comes to fighting management without union assistance, but they comprise one of the most resourceful and ready-to-fight categories of non-unionized workers. Bad management have no one but themselves to blame in many situations as they have become complacent in their mistreatment of employees. The ample supply of low-skilled workers feed both of these issues as managers can quickly and easily replace any employee who even appears to be organizing.

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Organizing on the Killing Floor

Organizing on the Killing Floor

In my past, I worked as a high-ranking union official and National Organizing Director within the union machine. Back then; we would set our sights on the easiest targets to quickly raise our membership levels. There were many circumstances that factored into our decision of whether or not to accept an organizing request from the employees. It could have been an issue involving layoffs in a facility, changes in benefits, regional politics, and safety issues.

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Could the NLRA become a Pro-Union Manifesto?

Could the NLRA become a Pro-Union Manifesto?

Exploring Captive-Audience Meetings from a Union Organizer's Perspective

This is a companion piece to our recent InsideEdge newsletter of the same title. That piece examines a recent pro-union, "equal opportunity" gag rule petition that 106 professor and academics submitted to the NLRB that would force employers to pay for the privilege of letting the union communicate with their employees.

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Under the Bus

Under the Bus

The Truth about Union Solidarity

Lately, I have been reading about union “solidarity” in the newspaper and watching several news stories claiming that public unions have come together to aid union protesters in Egypt. Several union leaders have credited themselves with the fall of the Egyptian government. Also, I was reviewing a recent guest “Confessions of a Union Organizer” in one of our own newsletters written by Calvin Hullett, a former police officer who was a hero to the Teamsters one day and thrown into the union recycling bin as “collateral damage” the next which inspired me to write a little about union “solidarity” from an insider’s perspective.

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Warehousing Anger

Warehousing Anger

Now that the holiday gift-giving season is past, we would like to take a few minutes to recognize and examine the companies and workers who make it possible: warehousing hubs and distribution centers. Please read on to see how labor views these groups and some of the tactics they employ to drive a wedge between management and workers.

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All about "the Numbers"

All about "the Numbers"

Labor's Definition of Winning

In the 1990's, the United Steelworkers (USW) decided to change history in the way they approached organizing in culturally diverse workforces. One example of how difficult it was to organize these areas was the UAW's push to organize Mexican Industries, a large auto supplier in the Detroit metropolitan area. In the 90's, the UAW fought two unsuccessful campaigns in which the employees ultimately chose to maintain their union-free privileges and sent the UAW packing after wasting large amounts of money in their failed organizing attempts. As an International Director of Organizing, Ricardo Torres developed a detailed plan for the USW to accomplish the goal of infiltrating culturally diverse areas. To do this, the USW gambled on a strategy that the UAW failed to use, and organized a large number of culturally diverse workers who felt discontent with the unions. It was a successful new strategy that unions continue to use to this day.

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High-Energy, Quickie Elections Redux

High-Energy, Quickie Elections Redux

The highly anticipated (and feared) changes to long-standing labor laws appear to finally be upon us. Read on to see why you need to ensure that you have an effective union avoidance strategy in place.

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