Diary

A Teachable Moment in Union Hypocrisy: ‘I Was Fired for Trying to Start a Union at the UFT.’

It’s truly fascinating and not the least bit ironic when union bosses treat their own workers as bad or worse than the employers they attack.

As union bosses clamor for enactment of so-called “card check,” (otherwise known as Employee Free Choice Act), it seems that when confronted with union issues among their own employees, they act every bit as barbaric as the robber barons of yore.

In a move of stunning hypocrisy, the United Federation of Teachers axed one of its longtime employees — for trying to unionize the powerful labor organization’s own workers, it was charged yesterday.

Jim Callaghan, a veteran writer for the teachers union, told The Post he was booted from his $100,000-a-year job just two months after he informed UFT President Michael Mulgrew that he was trying to unionize some of his co-workers.

“I was fired for trying to start a union at the UFT,” said a dumbfounded Callaghan, who worked for the union’s newsletter and as a speechwriter for union leaders for the past 13 years.

[snip]

Callaghan said that yesterday morning, he was hauled into a meeting with UFT officials, including CFO David Hickey, and told only that he was being fired from his job and had a half-hour to clear out of the office.

“They gave me no reason, no letter, no cause at all,” said Callaghan, who insisted that he has received no reprimands or notices about problems with his work. He noted that he wrote six stories in the most recent newsletter for teachers.

Callaghan said the union-busting bullying continued after he was told he was fired, when UFT leaders called in a detail of six uniformed cops to remove him from his office because he wasn’t leaving fast enough.

Callaghan said he decided to unionize the 12 UFT writers after a colleague was fired last year without cause.

“We have no protections and no disciplinary process,” he said.

While the UFT is an example of the hypocrisy that permeates the union movement, it is only one case out of many over the years.

For example, earlier this year, when office staff in the Philadelphia office of AFSCME tried to unionize, their employer (AFSCME) refused card-check, despite the fact that AFSCME has spent millions lobbying for passage of card-check.

In about a month, 20 secretaries, clerks, and administrators – all employees of one of the city’s most storied unions – will participate in a National Labor Relations Board election to decide whether they want to be represented by a union themselves.

Ironically, their employer, longtime labor leader Henry Nicholas, declined to recognize the bargaining unit when he was presented with signed petition cards from a majority of the workers.

Nicholas is a staunch supporter of a proposed federal law known as “card check,” which would allow unions to organize workplaces without a separate election if a majority of workers sign cards requesting representation.

In another example of union hypocrisy, last year, the infamous Teamsters union (whose headquarters staff is unionized) sent a letter to all of its locals informing them that negotiations with the staff union were not going well and that, if the workers chose to strike, the union would operate anyway.

We are writing to update you on the negotiations that are currently taking place with the union covering the IBT’s building workforce. Unfortunately the negotiations are not going well.

[snip]

As in any negotiations, these union members have a right to take strike action and their union knows the embarrassment that such an event would create for the IBT. However, no amount of embarrassment will cause us to commit to a collective bargaining agreement that jeopardizes the financial health of your International Union.

Though it pains us to do so, we must make contingency plans to operate in the event of a labor dispute.

In 2007, a United Food & Commercial Workers local had its unionized staff walk out on strike.  In that case, the UFCW not only temporarily replaced the strikers, but the UFCW boss actually bragged about it in the local newspaper. According to the Winnipeg Sun:

[UFCW] Management gloated on its website following the strike, boasting that they got employees to “accept less” in the new deal. Talk about adding salt to the wound.

The organization even suggested it would start cutting staff and has already fired one worker who was on the picket line — a move workers say is pure intimidation.

“One good thing that did come from this strike is that we know how to make this (organization) run more efficiently and we’ve realized we don’t need the amount of staff that we have,” the president of the [UFCW] said on the website. (Source: Winnipeg Sun, 3-2-07)

In Detroit, the Union of Ailing Workplaces, (better known as the United Auto Workers or UAW) opted to impose a contract with cuts on its own staff, even after they had previously voted it down.

The UAW has lost so many members that it is cutting at least 120 staff positions in an effort to balance its budget, UAW sources said.

“We’ve got to downsize,” a union source said. “It may not end there.”

In a stunning role reversal, Gettelfinger told UAW employees Thursday that he would impose the terms of a concessionary contract that they voted down last month. That means reduced benefits for the union’s own retirees and requires each UAW employee to take a two-week unpaid furlough or give up their 401(k) matching contribution next year.

While stories like those described above are numerous, no post on the subject of union hypocrisy would be complete without mention of the purple behmoth, the SEIU.

On top of the countless stories from former SEIU members about the purple dictatorship, many will recall last year’s story of the Union of Union Representatives (UUR) picketing in front of SEIU’s Washington, DC headquarters over the purple behemoth’s decision to lay off staff.

It’s ironic that unions so love to throw aspersions stones at companies when the House of Labor is so completely constructed of glass.

__________________

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”  Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Cross-posted.

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