There’s a union buster in the house of labor

by Ron Moore

ronmooreThe New York Times is reporting that the Employee Free Choice Act is dead. The news that labor staffers serving as lobbyists for working people have been working out a deal to undermine the right to organize is not a surprise to those experienced in the movement. For years labor’s effectiveness as a force for change has been undermined by union staff members who have never worked for a living and have no real commitment to the movement; it’s only a job to them.

My neighborhood in Silver Spring, Maryland is a case in point as labor staffers in important positions routinely choose to shop at the non-union Sniders rather than supporting their UFCW brothers and sisters down the street. At an Employee Free Choice Act rally a high ranking Service Employees International Union staff person commented in passing that since I live in his neighborhood maybe we’ll bump into one another at Sniders. I was dumbstruck that he would shamelessly mention shopping anti-union at a union rally! There was a time when someone so ignorant of the movement wouldn’t get close to a union position. This man has a lavish lifestyle funded by security officers, health care workers and janitors who I’m sure don’t expect their dues to fund anti-union businesses. A staffer at another union admitted to me that she was hired without any idea what a collective bargaining agreement was.
It’s a sad reality that the labor movement must hire young people who are not workers. But that does not excuse the managers of labor from establishing higher standards and providing training so that union staff understand and respect what this movement represents. It should be a part of the employment contract that union staff shop union when available in their area. Workers didn’t die to fund the next cup of coffee at Starbucks. Better to be understaffed while workers receive training and support to staff their union than to continue with the current crop of union busters.
So before we beat up on politicians lets engage in a little organizing of our own. Any staffer seen at a Starbucks or Whole Foods or driving a Honda should be counseled and given the opportunity for remediation and if they refuse to respect the movement they can’t live off members’ dues. What is the point of collecting dues and building a movement if union staff then go out and fund the opposition?

Ron Moore is a freelance writer living in Silver Spring, Maryland with decades of service in the grassroots community as a local union president, union organizer, national AFL-CIO staff, and writer for the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Moore writes on labor and other issues at The Examiner, a citizen’s journalism site.

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One Response

  1. also happy to read-read blog
    always successful

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