An article in Tuesday's New York Times about the Teamsters' campaign to organize Federal Express describes a typical example of how difficult it is to organize a union these days:
Meanwhile, on another planet, readers of USA Today and other newspapers may have noticed a recent one-page ad by a new corporate supported anti-union outfit (mis)named The Center For Union Facts. The ad asks "Why is a union like a Roach Motel?"
Not long after 21 of the 23 drivers in Northborough petitioned last fall for an election to join the Teamsters, FedEx dismissed five union supporters and six others quit, with several complaining that managers had made their lives unbearable.
"They started to harass and intimidate everybody," Mr. Williams said. "Some people they tried to starve out. Instead of giving 120 to 130 packages, they cut it to 60 or 70 to reduce the money."
Ken Flynn, a pro-union driver who was dismissed, said that after the unionization drive began, management added six managers to the three already there. The new ones, he said, spent much of their time speaking out against the union. FedEx says the new managers were assisting with the holiday rush and helping to transfer the operation to another terminal in Northborough.
To sway the drivers, FedEx prepared a 25-minute DVD that accused the Teamsters of being incompetent and violent.
The answer: "Because getting in is the easy part."
In that one heading lies the essence of the Center's lies, the reasons for its existence, and the state of the American labor movement today. The real union fact is that there is almost nothing harder than getting into a union these days -- particularly if the union chooses to use the classic secret ballot election process that has been the staple of union organizing for decades. [cont'd]