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Hearing on Aggressive Union-Busting Tactics During Recent Labor Struggles in San Francisco and the San Francisco Region

San Francisco City Hall, December 5, 2005 @ 3 p.m.

Sponsoring Supervisor: Jake McGoldrick, District 1

December 10th is International Human Rights Day. One of the basic human rights guaranteed by the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right to form and join trade unions. However, recent unionization and contract struggles in Northern California have been met with increasingly emboldened and aggressive tactics. Besides using illegal firings and other job-security and economic intimidation tactics, employers are hiring security firms which act as private militia in foreign conflicts, and physical violence and threats thereof are becoming increasingly prevalent.

These testimonies by union activists are part of the AFL-CIO's call for forums and rallies to be held on or around International Human Rights Day regarding attacks on the right to unionize:

  • Tim Paulson, Executive Director, San Francisco Labor Council.
  • Jack Chernos, AFM Local 6, and Art Persyko, IBT Local 85, retired. Jack Chernos and Art Persyko were followed and threatened by Modern Industrial Services, a union-busting company hired by California Pacific Medical Center CPMC during the recent contract struggle with SEIU-UHW.
  • Blue Diamond worker. Workers at Blue Diamond Growers are attempting to join ILWU Local 17. Blue Diamond has fired vocal pro-union workers, threatened loss of pensions, and the National Labor Relations Board has found strong evidence that Blue Diamond has committed 28 separate violations of labor laws.
  • Comcast worker will describe how Comcast has fired vocal pro-union employees on flimsy charges and used threats and intimidation to fight the unionization of Comcast workers.
  • Tony Price, GCIU Local 4N. Tony Price will speak on the intimidation tactics used on pre-press workers, and the violence he was personally a victim of, during contact struggles with the SF Chronicle. Local 4N prepress workers continue to work without a contract.
  • Kim Rohrbach will describe the struggles faced by workers trying to unionize at Real Foods. The National Labor Relations Board recently found that pro-union workers at Real Foods were illegally fired.
  • Steve Zeltzer, Chair of the KPFA Labor Collective will speak on possible actions which San Francisco can take, including the formation of a San Francisco Labor Commission modeled on the labor commission in Berkeley, passing of a resolution in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act, enactment of EFCA-esque legislation (such as card check union recognition), and calling on the California attorney general to enforce the law banning professional out-of-state strike breakers.
  • Doug Slaydon, UFCW Local 588 union activist and butcher at the Fairfield Safeway was fired after he decided to run for office in the union. This political retaliation is illegal under the law and Doug Slaydon will talk about how the discharge took place and the effect of political retaliation on worker and union rights.
  • Nat Courtney, a shop steward at IAM Local 1546 was fired on June 15, 2005 along with all the other union mechanics from Berkeley Doten Honda as a condition for the sale of the company. The new company refused to hire many of the union members and later fired all the union members who refused to train non-union workers to take their jobs.
Contact: Jack Chernos
Cell: 415-812-6203

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