Catching Management Off Guard

Looks like our rebellion leader actually beat Super Geek and his yes-men to the punch. I’m still laughing about that. John R. was able to get an article in the local newspaper concerning his proposed union before management shot the whole thing down. Company management always uses the paper as their personal public relations department. They’re going to retaliate now for certain. Heh. Anyway here’s the news article.

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An employee of Bill and Dave’s Test and Measurement division is leading the first organized backlash to layoffs at the company by testing the waters for interest in forming a union. The union movement so far has been limited to posting fliers in break rooms and other nonwork environments and spreading information among employees through word of mouth.

John R. said he would like to see the company offer better pay for Bill and Dave’s workers and better severance packages for employees who are laid off because their jobs are moved overseas. He has also created a Web site at http://www.agilepeople.org/ the employee who is leading the effort, said his primary goal in exploring a union is to win raises for employees and scale back the number of jobs that have been moved from the U.S. to Bill and Dave’s facility in Malaysia. “I don’t know that having a union’s the right thing,” said John R., a supply chain planner in the Signal Analyzers division. “But I can either leave and find some other company, or make a stand here. The people here are great, and I think they deserve better than what they’ve been getting.”

Bill and Dave’s company spokesman Jeff W. said Monday that the company would not address John R.’s specific complaints, and that working with employees through a union would not fit with what he described as Bill and Dave’s core values. “It would really run counter to our core principle of valuing the contribution of each employee individually to deal with employees through some third party,” Jeff W. said. “We’re dealing with questions raised by one individual,” Jeff W. said. “At this time it’s not our intent to address the issues he’s raised in a public forum.” There currently are no unions within Bill and Dave’s company in the United States and unions are rare in the technology industry.

The union John R. is proposing would not be affiliated with any already established unions such as the AFL-CIO. John R. said he expects to start a petition over the next several weeks to find out if there is enough support among employees to take his plans to the National Labor Relations Board. If the effort gets that far, employees could be asked to vote on whether to unionize. John R. first considered the unionizing in May, when Bill and Dave’s company reported its third consecutive profitable quarter. John R. said that after seeing employees endure three years of heavy layoffs at the company — including the loss of 3,500 jobs in this county alone — he was frustrated they weren’t seeing improvements in pay or job security once the company was making money again. Bill and Dave’s company, which makes electronic test equipment, is the county’s largest technology employer with 2,350 workers. So far Rose said his co-workers seem interested in the idea, if not overtly supportive. He has received no negative feedback from his colleagues, he said, but employees aren’t convinced they need union representation.

Alex Mallonee, secretary-treasurer of the North Bay Labor Council, said that without an established union to back him up, John R. is fighting an uphill battle to see his plans succeed. Mallonee added that it’s not uncommon to see this kind of backlash against a company that has been through a devastating downturn. “It’s only recently when (Bill and Dave’s company) started laying off people and offshoring that people became disgruntled,” Mallonee said. “They used to have a fair amount of amenities that a lot of companies didn’t offer. When those go away, morale goes down rapidly.”

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~ by factorypeasant on June 24, 2007.

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