Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Surveillance, retaliation and anti-union lectures

We told you about the Iron Mountain workers who were forced to sit through intimidating captured audience meetings because they want to become Teamsters.

But we didn't do as good a job telling you about it as Josh Eidelson at Salon did. Eidelson spoke to workers who told him the company's managers are constantly harassing them not to unionize. And he has more quotes from managers recorded from the meeting: 
>One recording captures a manager telling an activist worker one-on-one, “There’s nothing I don’t know,” “There’s no secrets anymore,” and “I am upset with you personally” for pursuing unionization without telling him. The other captures the same manager telling a group of employees in an Oct. 24 meeting,"We have the right to educate you, and we’re gonna exercise that right.”...
It's legal for employers to campaign against unions, but it's illegal to threaten retaliation or interfere with organizing. Iron Mountain may well have crossed that line.

And even if Iron Mountain management acted within the letter of the law, that doesn't make it any less intimidating. Reported Eidelson:
“It made you scared to speak up and say anything, you know,” the employee told Salon. “Especially with management being so ‘disappointed,’ as they said they were.” He said that “the most intimidating part to me” was seeing how one of his anti-union co-workers “was able to voice how he felt about it” in the meeting, but a pro-union worker was “shot down” quickly by management when he tried to offer a counterpoint.
Al-Jazeera America has another good story on the steep price workers pay for trying to unionize.  Iron Mountain fired Wayne Walker, a driver, for union activities. He is filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

Reports Al-Jazeera: 
Workers say the plant has changed for the worse in recent years, with demands to meet new deadlines and quotas. 
“We are choosing to go union because the company is making changes and we are left behind. The company is talking about billions of dollars of profit, but we haven’t seen it. All we see is extra work,” a current Iron Mountain employee told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity.
What's especially troubling about the story is that Iron Mountain has contracts to destroy records at the U.S. Department of Defense and Environmental Protection Agency. 

You really have to ask, is this the kind of company U.S. taxpayers should be supporting?