Agilepeople Responds To Scar Lip’s Memo

As Scar Lip often noted in his coffee talks, the newspaper sometimes takes information out of context and can misquote. It is interesting that he chose to respond to the newspaper article, and not to the flyers that I have been distributing in break areas, or to my concerns raised on http://www.agilepeople.org.

The newspaper did not mention that I am in favor of a Leveraged Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and that organizing a union was the only way I could get legal protection to advocate a Leveraged ESOP. A Leveraged ESOP is a method for employees to take out a loan using the company’s credit. The employees then purchase a majority ownership in the company. The company pays the interest and principal out of profits, and the employees risk nothing. When employees retire, they have a large share of the corporation that will pay dividends. More importantly, while they are working they have a huge voting block and an incentive to work for long-term profit goals. I’ve asked Scar Lip if I could host a brown bag lunch for a speaker to discuss Leveraged ESOPs and their benefits, but he has not gotten back to me yet.

Scar Lip said a union means giving up your right to negotiate on your own. From personal experience, I can tell you that you would not be missing much. I spent months saying it wasn’t right that I was doing twice the work, but had not received a raise in three years. I did not complain while we were losing money, because I wanted to save our jobs. When it became clear that I was only delaying the loss of jobs, I decided I either needed to leave and find a new job, or act on my conscience. I chose to act.

The yet-to-be-elected leadership of Agilepeople will ask employees to sign a petition. Any negotiated labor contract will be approved by democratic vote. Personally, I trust my colleagues and coworkers to justly represent my interests. I do not expect to be the leader, but I will continue to lead the organization movement as long as necessary.

Bill and Dave’s company position on unionization is unclear. The company has wonderful relations with their labor union in Singapore. They still maintain an open door policy. Yet they fear U.S. unions so much that they discriminated against my right to publish information about Agilepeople on the electronic bulletin board. The law is clear: employers cannot publish information for some employee organizations, and then choose to exclude labor organizations. While this violation of the National Labor Relations Act makes it harder for me to distribute my message and gather support, I preferred to take the higher path and not publicize the violation until necessary. I believe that the employees of Bill and Dave’s company will see that employee ownership and a union are in the best interest of our company and sets an example for other U.S. corporations and high-tech companies to follow.

Best regards,

John R.
Agilepeople organizer

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~ by factorypeasant on June 30, 2007.

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