15,000 of us got heard at the NLRB today, at once! NL

by Richard Negri

60 signatures per page, 250 pages - photo by Brother David Sachs

Earlier today I had the incredible experience of hand-delivering a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) supporting the Board’s proposed rulesto modernize the union election process. The incredible part was that the letter was co-signed by 15,000 workers and activists.

The NLRB’s small step forward for working people, everyone knew, would be met with fierce opposition. To counter the fast-moving big corporations and their favorite politicians dominating the press (at least for a day or so), an online mobilization was stepped up a notch. A web page with a letter and sign up form was published to my union’s website, the url was then sent to just about every online activist I could think of. Letters were sent to the union’s lists, UnionReview’s lists and, in time, it spread. And the end goal to deliver a letter co-signed by as many workers as possible during the open public comment sessions happened … today!

When I told NLRB Executive Secretary Lester A. Heltzer that he was holding a letter signed by more than 15,000 workers and worker activists who support the proposed rule change, he was impressed, saying the action was “definitely a first.”

Aside from UnionReview.com and the union’s web presence, Facebook, Twitter, Stumble and then Google+ — all of the networks were dialed in to provide a knowledge-transfer, engage with one another, and move to a fairly low-bar ask of co-signing the letter “if you agree with what it says.”

For decades, the federal government has allowed big corporations to litigate workers’ efforts to death when we try to form a union and get a leg up in supporting our families. Unfortunately, irresponsible companies typically delay our elections and frequently retaliate against anyone working to form a union. During organizing campaigns, more than one-third of employers fire pro-union workers, even though it is our legal right to form or join a union. This is information that rarely, if ever, will make it to the front page of any mainstream media — and validation of why working people need to take matters in our hands and BECOME our own media!

At the end of the day, the NLRB proposed rule change is a modest step toward allowing workers to vote in free and fair elections, without fear of intimidation or losing their jobs. Greedy corporations and their puppet politicians are fighting this rule change because they want to keep the status quo that is making them rich – but how much longer will we let them hold us back from out legal right to organize?

According to the 15,000 people who co-signed the letter, not anymore!

Regardless of how this NLRB fight ends up, today was a definite victory for workers and activists getting their voices heard — at the same time.

Here is the cover letter to Executive Secretary Lester Heltzer that I had the honor of signing on behalf myself and some 14,999 others who believe enough is enough.


July 19, 2011

    Lester A. Heltzer,
    Executive Secretary
    1099 14th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20570

RE: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Representation Case Procedures RIN 3142-AA08

Dear National Labor Relations Board,

In a year that saw unprecedented attacks on working families and the worst economy for working people since the Great Depression, any step to improve the election process for working people trying to form a union is welcome.

Attacks from corporate interest groups are sure to begin, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the decision you’ve made to stand up for people like me who believe the union provides a path to the middle class and the American Dream for so many families across the country.

I hope you’ll consider my voice as the conversation about the rule gets underway.



And here is the entry on SEIU’s web page

Richard Negri is an on-line organizer for the SEIU.

One Response

  1. Certainly any step to improve the election process for working people trying to form a union is welcome. Let us hope that applies to the union election for 43,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente, where an Administrative Law Judge has just ruled that electoral misconduct by SEIU and Kaiser during the recent election between SEIU and the NUHW prevented workers from freely expressed their choice without undue coercion. The Kaiser employees deserve a speedy and fair election process this time around.

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