Saturday, June 28, 2014

What is the story behind the notice we received and what's next?

What is the story behind the notice we received and what's next?
The email accompanying the notice states:
"We are distributing the Attached Notice to Employees to you pursuant to a Settlement Agreement approved by the Regional Director of Region 19 of the National Labor Relations Board in Case 19-CA-115285. "
Case 19-CA-115285 concerns the complaint filed by Marilyse B after she was abruptly fired from the lab in August 2013.


Steps to form our own independent local union - bargaining unit

To start the process toward the creation of a local union, we only need to collect a significant number of signatures by employees on "authorization cards" supporting such a creation.
Once we have such a number (at least 30% of the Tier 1s, including both shifts) we give those signed cards that are not divulged to the employer, to the Regional Office of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) that will decide if we have enough names to organize an election (by comparing our list to the list of Tier 1 employees provided by the employer).

The names of the people who signed the 'petition' to create a union remain anonymous (the NLRB only says to the employer they have received a union petition involving at least 30% of the eligible employees) and the vote for the election is secret so no one is able to know who is for or against.

It is important not to discuss anything related to the union during the working hours and inside the lab. Reserve the discussions to the breaks outside of the lab and keep the info secret from management and the non-Tier1 employees. 
The goals of a local union will be to bargain collectively to improve our working conditions, obtain benefits (paid vacation, paid time off, health insurance, etc.)

Forming is a union is perfectly legal and is a protected activity (provided you respect the above mentioned restriction about not discussing within the workplace). As such the employer cannot harass you or fire you. If a person that is part of organizing is fired he/she can file a complaint with the NLRB for wrongful dismissal for retaliation, as was the case last year for one of our colleagues. A complaint was filed and the company paid a significant settlement to avoid litigation.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why 'Temporary Workers of America'? Our own independent start up union

When we considered organizing a union to try improving all aspects of our common working conditions via collective bargaining since it was clear individual/'one on one' approaches with management led nowhere, we contacted a few existing unions. 
We thought it would be easier to rely on their expertise and support than create our own independent new union. 
Unfortunately we did not find much support and when it was offered it came with a price tag we could not afford and refused to pay (about $50 per month per person). 
So we decided for our own start up union as the whole process seems rather simple. 
We are still on step 2, gathering enough support to have an election so keep up the good work of making it happen.
Why the name 'Temporary Workers of America"? 
Because 'Tier1 employees' even after more than one year (or two) of full time regular employment are still (mis)classified as 'temporary' and as such denied the most basic benefits, without any time limit offered for a 'temporary' position. 
We hope our 'Temporary Workers of America' will change this situation.