—as told to furbirdsqueerly
Let’s start this with a song, one of our all time favorites. We especially like the line, Vacations with pay, take the kids to the seashore. “Talking Union” is a talking blues song written by members of the Almanac Singers. The song tells of the common struggles that a union organizer faces while starting a new labor union. The song was written in 1941 and the struggle still goes on.
Richie Poor was thinking about this song yesterday when the new company that had taken over the old company came out with their new handbook. The new regime the same as the old, no worse. Well I’ll be damned, they took away our vacations with pay and have replaced it with some shit they call anniversary bonuses. That bonuses for anyone who works a 40 hour week will be the whopping sum of $200.00.
“Bull shit,” said Little Eva, “I’ve worked for this place for 20 years and now I am expected to give up my hard earned vacations?” “No way,” said Jose. “I was planning on taking mine next month when I go to visit my mom in LA. ” Too bad boys and girls if you don’t like our way of doing things the door is right over there,” said fat pig with the big cigar. There are plenty of people out of work who would line up 10 thick to get a job here. They would be glad to have what you got regardless of the pay, no vacations, paid holidays, personnel days. (Well sick days no buster you can’t take that away from us that’s law no matter how weak the law is we got something.) So Eva, Ritchie and Jose say, “Let’s call up the union and ask them to step in and help us. You know this company has gotten so fucking big now buying up all the smaller ones and soon they will control the market. Then what with no competition the workers will be really screwed.” Very few companies deny their workers the very basic benefit of paid vacations. Most understand that rest and relaxation away from the job is very important to a persons well being. The workers know this and on Monday morning we hear workers say, Gee I wish it were Friday, I can’t wait for the weekend. Just to breath, breath our own life, not theirs or anyone else. You know we give 40 hours a week of our life to these companies and some time more shouldn’t they be a bit grateful and give us time off with pay? That’s basic. Time to throw their pig shit back at them. No whining no excuses. Nope not standing up about this will certainly cause the company to think they can do anything they want to the workers.
But you know there are always those someones who are afraid of the boss, afraid of losing their jobs if they make a peep. There are always those who will see this activity as a way to get a close up with the boss and get fucked some more. Tom told the union supporters, “Unions are no good, they protect the lazy worker and we have to pay dues every month, they call strikes and then we have to go out on the picket line, nope not for me.” “Well,” said Eva, “I heard that 32 BJ of the Service Employee Union that represents the janitors also represent many security officers up and down the east coast. Yes you pay dues but you get paid vacations, personnel days, your birthday off with pay and the best of all after a long hard fight, a fight that went on for many years, a fight that Joan my wife was in, a fight that they finally won free medical, dental and vision insurance. Well folks you can’t beat that. What the heck do you have without a union, no vacations, no personnel days, Boss man can fire you if he doesn’t like you. Bose’s nephew has started college down the street and needs a part time job. I wonder who is going to lose theirs? One of us will. The new company states in their handbook at employment with them is “AT WILL” At-will means that you or your employer can terminate your job on a moment’s notice for any reason, whether good, bad, indifferent or for no reason at all. (1) Let’s hope that if it happens to you that you can prove them wrong, that it was illegal for them to fire you and you can win a case against the employer. Hard to do I have heard it is. But lucky for the worker good shit can happen but who wants to depend on lucky in the workplace? Not any of us.
How about your pay Tom? Its stuck at $10.00 dollars an hour. How many years have you been here now? How many years without a decent raise? I hear the Security officers who work for the state saw their pay go up from $10.25 to $14.00 after they unionized. You know Tom you always are complaining about all the workers you have seen come and go, you know don’t you think that with a union with good benefits, wages and respect on the job that a higher caliber of people would be lining up at the door to get a job here. Respect towards the workers would go a long way in retaining. Tom you are full of shit, don’t try to block us in or attempts to organize, don’t become a scab or a snitch to the boss and remember there are more of us together than there are of you alone. Last but not least Tom, why are you so fucking hostile to the only game in town that will actually help you, why do you dislike the very group that will represent you against this large company who has begun to take away from you? “Ok, Ok enough said,” Ritchie, Jose come on over to my apartment and we will go over this handbook with a fine tooth comb. You game for this weekend?
Hopefully this will be the shot heard around the world of Security in this town and knowing the terriority can tell this will be a long drawn out fight.
Solidarity Forever as sung by Utah Phillips.
(1)Read more: http://employment-law.freeadvice.com/employment-law/firing/fired-for-no-reason.htm#ixzz4LjszcLVj
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Annual leave is paid time off work granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes. Depending on the employer’s policies, differing number of days may be offered, and the employee may be required to give a certain amount of advance notice, may have to coordinate with the employer to be sure that staffing is adequately covered during the employee’s absence, and other requirements may have to be met. The vast majority of countries today mandate a minimum amount of paid annual leave by law, though the United States is a notable exception in mandating no minimum paid leave and treating it as a perk rather than a right.
The most common vacation schedules among businesses are two weeks after one year of service, three weeks after five years of service, four weeks after 10 or 15 years of service, and five weeks after 25 years of service.
In real time: two of the large Security companies in this area have merged and are now in the process of buying up other companies. 32 BJ at this time represents only state Security officers and there doesn’t seem to be much movement in organizing others who work for private companies at the large corporations. Officers at my job site are now beginning to see that we will be at the mercy of this powerful company with very few places to go to if we want to leave.
From the Handbook: Here is a copy of their No Vacation Policy:
__________does not provide paid vacations to Employees, unless specifically required under a collective bargaining agreement. However, Employees may request unpaid time off from their Operations Manager with at least two weeks’ prior notice.
According to the new handbook: This benefit is an Anniversary Bonus in recognition of Company service only and is not to be confused with, nor interpreted as, vacation pay.
___________provides a service recognition bonus, referred to as an “Anniversary Bonus”, for each full year of service completed. Refer to that section for further details. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides for paid Vacation time are not eligible for the Anniversary Bonus program.
_________does not provide paid sick leave except where such may be required by a CBA, a customer contract, or by state or local laws.
__________ supports your civic duty to report for jury duty whenever called. If you are called for jury duty, you will be allowed to take the necessary time off. However, due to the volume of work that must be completed in your absence, the Company does not provide Employees with paid jury duty leave.
Is there really hope??? Here is an essay written back in 2013. Wolfs at the door, about organizing Security Officers. Check it out HERE.