FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Standing Up to Union-Busting

Here in New England autumn starts early, and on this late August morning the weather was especially chilly.  Nonetheless, approximately 65 union members and supporters found their way to the picket planned here in Harvard Square at the Sheraton Commander Hotel on August 20th.

The action was organized by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO in protest of an anti-union event being held at the hotel.  The event, a day-long seminar organized by an outfit calling itself, “HR Heroes,” was sponsored by M. Lee Smith Publishers, LLC, and charged a $500 registration fee for employers and Human Resource Directors wanting to learn how to keep their workplaces union-free.

The seminar itself was titled, “Labor Union Avoidance Master Class: Countering Labor’s Aggressive New Organizing Agenda,” and featured prominent anti-labor attorneys as guest speakers.  Some of the workshops included, “Development of a Union-Free Philosophy,” “6 Ways to Get Employees to Vote No,” and “How to Spot Employees Most Susceptible to Organizing.”

Expecting to arrive undisturbed for their morning back-slapping and chumming over event-sponsored breakfast, the managerial urchins in attendance were instead greeted by the throng of angry picketers.  Booing, hissing, and chanting, the picketers let it be known that, as far as they were concerned, the war on unions being planned inside the hotel would not be a one-sided fight.

Several times hotel representatives came out to angrily inform the picketers that they were disturbing the posh hotel’s guests, to which the picketers called back, “Good! They’re disturbing our right to organize!”  It wasn’t soon after that the Cambridge Police showed up to monitor the protest.  One of the particularly well-dressed picket organizers wearily said, “Officer, I’ve lived in Cambridge my whole life and I’ve never been arrested,” while another, boisterous union member jokingly called back, “Brother, there’s a first time for everything!”, though nothing further ensued.

While there were several unions represented at the picket, it was unfortunate that there wasn’t more representation from any of the unions at Harvard University – the third biggest employer in the state of Massachusetts.  None of the leaders or officials from my union, the 5,000-member strong Harvard clerical workers’ union, came to the picket, though our union office is a mere 10 blocks from the Sheraton Commander.

If labor is to defend itself in a worsening economy, in which employers are gearing up for major attacks on our right to organize, cross-union solidarity and mobilization will be critical.

Actions such as the AFL sponsored picket that happened here at the Sheraton are important to the future of labor.  But these also should be soberly viewed as just a small sample of what will be needed to reverse labor’s decline.

KEITH ROSENTHAL works at Harvard and is a member of HUCTW/AFSCME Local 3650. He can be reached at keithmr81@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail