Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trick #10: Anti-Union Committee

Trick #10: Anti-Union Committee
Before the Union election, a so-called "Vote No Committee" will mysteriously appear. The Antiunion Committee will do the company's dirty work. They may pass out literature filled with the company's lies about the union, or they may spread rumors and insult coworkers who support the union. The Vote No Committee members may be recruited from friends and relatives of someone in management. Usually, they are promised special treatment or a promotion for their dirty work.

The Truth:
The company knows that if you and your coworkers are united, you can stand up with your rights. The aim of the Antiunion Committee is to divide people and create hatred. The company tries to divide us, but the Union brings us together. Don't let it happen to you.

March 20, 2007 6:03 AM

14 comments:

union yes said...

Did you know...


Union members in the U.S. enjoy an average advantage of $2.67 per hour in wages and $3.87 in benefits over non-union workers?

your pay, pension, and benefits pale by comparison to nearly 200,000 unionized UPS and Airborne Express Teamsters doing your same job?

without Union contract protection, management at any time can legally: freeze or reduce your wages; modify, reduce, or eliminate elements of your pension and benefits; and increase your costs for items such as health care coverage?

a negotiated Union contract can keep the "best" of your current benefits package, improve sub-standard benefits, and add new benefits?

without a Union you have no effective front-line defense against speed-up and health & safety risks?

without Union contract protection you are legally an "at-will" employee who can be terminated at any time, regardless of FedEx management's so-called "no lay-off policy"?

the company's "people manual" is not a legally binding contract, but merely an internal set of guidelines that management can, and often does, change, break, or ignore at their discretion?

an effectively negotiated Union contract tightly binds management with the full force of law, especially when monitored and enforced on the shop floor by a vigilant and involved membership?

YOU ARE IN CONTROL-- you as Union members should expect to democratically participate in drawing up an agenda of priorities to be discussed during negotiations, and your votes decide whether to accept or reject any submitted contract proposal!

Anonymous said...

I am a FedEx courier in Kansas City, in the middle of the United States. Thousands of co-workers around the country have signed union cards over the last few years. We believe that it is a joke that Federal Express calls itself a "people company."

Word has reached us that FedEx has shut down its own operations and engaged in subcontracting rather than abide by the democratic wishes of its employees to unionize in your country. We also understand that FedEx has not honored the laws in Antigua regarding payment of sick pay to employees. We are distressed but not surprised at the behavior of FedEx in Antigua. Here in the United States many of us believe that the company's P-S-P philosophy is NOT People-Service-Profit, but instead is Profits-Screwing-People.

I and other FedEx workers maintain several union organizing websites. You may access them through
UnionYes http://members.aol.com/BobKutchko/UnionYes/index.html

We offer our support to FedEx members of the Antiguan Workers Union, and urge your government to take appropriate and strong action against the company in light of its anti-people behavior.

In International Union Solidarity!

Bob Kutchko
member FedEx Teamsters Organizing Committee
4906 Wedd, Merriam, Kansas, 66203 USA

Anonymous said...

A "Wicked Set of People":
South of the Border Union Busting & Massive Tax Evasion?!!

When a spoiled and bratty child doesn't get his way, he pouts and kicks the dirt, picks up his bat and glove from the playground, and cries to Mommy. This is sometimes humorous.

But when a $17 billion worldwide conglomerate throws a temper tantrum, picks up its toys, and runs home to Daddy, it's not the least bit funny. And that is what Federal Express has done on the Caribbean island country of Antigua, where people's jobs have been stolen and a nation's dignity insulted. This conduct by FedEx cannot be ignored, tolerated, or condoned.

Snubbing the country's law governing sick pay, and refusing to abide by the democratic wishes of its unionized employees, Federal Express closed down its Antiguan operation in the middle of the night on August 24. FedEx is attempting to continue business through an "authorized agent," or more accurately, a scab subcontractor.

All hourly employees were given a termination notice dated August 25. This August 25 firing letter, also posted here on UNION PRIDE 2 for the entire world to see, was issued to Antiguan workers by the law firm of Commodore & Associates on behalf of Federal Express. In the letter, management's sarcastic and demeaning attitude is summed up in its rub-it-in "gratitude" to the fired Antiguan workforce: "Our client [FedEx] wishes us to thank each and every one of their employees for the years of service that they have rendered to the company." Seniority among the Antiguan Sisters and Brothers ranged as high as 12 years.

In late 1998 the FedEx workers voted by a margin of 4 to 3 in favor of affiliation with the Antigua Workers Union. Organizing occurred in response to issues such as management's denial of legally mandated sick pay, and favoritism. Federal Express proceeded to utilize the same predictable union-busting ploy it threw in the pilots' faces for years in the United States: continuous delaying tactics! This infamous anti-union tactic is meant to make a well-meaning union look ineffective and useless to members and prospective members, so that their faith in the Union ideal dwindles, essential unity erodes, and bargaining strength further weakens.

Fed up with management's refusal to recognize the Union and engage in good faith bargaining, and angered at the corporation's continued violation of Antiguan sick pay law, FedEx members of the Antigua Workers Union walked out and launched a strike on Friday, August 20. Picketing took place on Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th. It was under the cover of darkness late that night of August 24 that Federal Express removed equipment, prepared to ship vehicles and property out of the country, and hung "closed" signs that referred customers to a company called Parcel Plus. In an obvious see-through shell game, the former station manager and several non-union FedEx'ers now work at Parcel Plus!

Daynor Dow, employee #169503, a 27 year-old customer service agent with seven years' seniority, told UNION PRIDE over the phone: "We [the workers] built up Federal Express... The managers do not care about those that work below them." Daynor continued with a familiar phrase heard often among United States FedEx employees, "There is no such thing as guaranteed fair treatment." With a defiant laugh, she then very emphatically added: "Federal Express is just a plantation with air conditioning... It's all about power." Proud of her co-workers' stand against the huge corporation, Daynor expressed pride and no regrets about the quick outcome. "We feel free, very free. We felt we were off the plantation and free." Dow is the union's chief shop steward, and her assistant steward is Natasha Adams, #234373.

The first battle of "FedEx vs. Union" in Antigua may have ended, but the war is far from over. And sometimes even the "winner" of a war can be made to pay so big a price in respect and goodwill that it ends up being the loser. If its reputation south of the border wasn't already bad enough after its anti-people conduct in Antigua, Argentine government officials announced on September 8 that FedEx is being investigated for possible tax evasion upwards of $100 million! Just what kind of "people company" do we work for?


Solidarity In Progress: Far More Than FedEx Bargained For

Federal Express may have become too brazenly overconfident in their ability to walk all over its workers on Antigua. Or perhaps management arrogantly underestimated the intelligence of the people it was dealing with. Either way doesn't say much for managerial "smarts," because they apparently, and very stupidly, expected the very same striking union to merrily handle FedEx's capital flight out of the country! Not about to be fooled, Antigua Workers Union dockworkers at Deepwater Harbour refused to handle the cargo, and demanded that the FedEx vehicles, equipment, and even paperwork be removed from the port. And it all was!

Meanwhile, the Union and its supporters began a political counterattack. Chester Hughes, AWU Industrial Relations Officer, stated, "As far as we are concerned, this behavior is not in line with our industrial relations practice." Hughes continued, "The employees have been wrongfully dismissed and the union is going all out, including suing for damages." He added, "FedEx has an obligation to the employees and to this country and we will bring their practices to the attention of the Labour Attache of the US Embassy." George De Peana, the general secretary of the Caribbean Congress of Labor, also issued a statement in support of the AWU, saying, ".... if considered necessary [we] will draw it to the attention of our American and other international colleagues."

Anonymous said...

International Solidarity!




with...



Antiguan FedEx Workers





Labour Commissioner Austin Josiah labeled FedEx's conduct "unbelievable, outrageous and unprecedented." At an August 26 press conference Josiah termed the company's behavior an "affront to Antigua and Barbuda." Josiah also said, "Acceptance of such gross misconduct.... would obliterate the 'dignity of Labour' in the brutish power of authoritarian capitalist dictatorship."



Baldwin Spencer, leader of the United Progressive Party, told the press, "This just demonstrates how some foreign investors and employers feel that they can come into this country and just flout our laws and expect people to succumb to it. Of course we know that Federal Express has an international reputation of being union-busters and of being anti-union, and they expected that they would have gotten away with this situation." Spencer continued, "I think if we allow these foreign investors to come into this country to operate they must be allowed in on the basis that they are going to abide by the laws of Antigua & Barbuda. And they will not, under any those circumstances, abscond or be prepared to run away from legal obligations, which is what Federal Express has done."

Public Relations Officer Raymond Simon of the Antigua and Barbuda Human Rights Association (HRA) described FedEx conduct as "an insult to the Constitution, and the Labour Commissioner, and violated the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) right of freedom of association."

Shop steward Daynor Dow told UNION PRIDE that demands have been raised to revoke landing rights for Federal Express planes and to pull the business license of "the new FedEx" scab subcontractor Parcel Plus. According to the September 7 Antigua Sun, an agreement between the Labour Commissioner and Federal Express for increased monetary compensation to fired employees was nearing possible completion.

For breaking news on the situation in Antigua, visit the on-line website of the Antigua Sun. The paper does not maintain an on-line archives, so visit its site daily.







Antigua: Lessons for FDX Workers Around the World

What conclusions might FedEx workers in the United States, the Caribbean, and worldwide draw from the Antiguan situation? What does management's Antiguan assault tell us about Federal Express? Is FDX so powerful that all Union Movements everywhere, including in the United States, are fated to be squashed? Was there nothing that could have been done by other FedEx workers worldwide to help the Antiguans?

Let's discuss these important questions one by one.


The "Nature" of Federal Express--

Management's actions in Antigua contribute to the rapid process of "exposure" regarding the true nature of a huge and profit-hungry multinational corporation such as FDX. More and more of the ever-thinning purple & orange "people company" veneer is stripping away from the rotting plywood of Federal Express. Argentine suspicions of massive FedEx tax evasion, if proven, would develop into a gigantic international scandal. And in less than a year's time, the world has seen Fred Smith's union-phobic company seek to brutally intimidate both the "big"-- the FedEx Pilots Association-- and the "small"-- the Antiguan Workers Union.

These assaults demonstrate that the company is desperately determined to maintain as close to 100% total control over its workforce as possible by attacking the unionization process. Management realizes that it risks being exposed and humiliated every time it tries to clamp down on unionizing employees with barbarous actions, so it uses various strategies to minimize those risks. But in the quest for maximum profits, it still willingly takes those risks, and that is a weakness that pro-Union FedEx workers worldwide can exploit to the hilt.

With FPA, the corporation tried to "paint" the pilots as "bad guys" to other employees and customers [see PR Awards document on the AirlinePilots.com website for a glimpse at management's "happy face" battle plan drawn up by an outside anti-union consultant; visit the UNION PRIDE website for an extensive running account of FPA's 1998 contract battle and management's union-busting behavior]. With Antigua, the company hoped it could carefully tiptoe on the highwire of a secretive "balancing act," whereby it could "teach a brutal lesson" to dissatisfied Caribbean-area small market FedEx workers, but not let word slip out to the rest of the world about its "ugly American" conduct. As this website demonstrates, however, management may totally fail in at least the latter objective, because their behavior is documented here for all to see. And in general, FDX is fooling its workforce and the worldwide public less and less about its various intimidation tactics and union-busting ploys, insufficient wages, pension, and benefits, favoritism, lack of a genuine grievance procedure and on-the-job rights, etc. etc. [see the UNION YES and FED UP websites for ever-accumulating details].

In contrast to its high-stakes fight with the potentially super-powerful U.S. pilots based "in the belly of the beast," in Antigua we see Federal Express somewhat illogically risking a GIGANTIC worldwide loss in goodwill stature by hammering down in a MINOR market on a TINY but determined workforce with COLOSSAL heart and self-respect. Once the world knows about the exceptional level of viciousness Federal Express used in Antigua, condemnations will surely abound from decent people everywhere.

Let's examine management's brutal behavior in Antigua. In one fell swoop FedEx hurt the union members and their families, the customers, and the pride of an entire nation. Quite a dubious accomplishment for a self-professed "people company"!

FedEx workers in the United States shouldn't at all be surprised to see the corporation "make it bad" for its Antiguan employees; the company "makes it bad" for many of us in America, too. We all know U.S. co-workers who have suffered economic hardship and severe mental stress in one stroke of the FedEx pen through unfair firings or job displacement due to health problems. And just like in Antigua, the corporation hurts not just the workers it fires or displaces, some whom have never know any other line of work, but their loved ones as well.

Further, for a company that feeds the general public and business community a line of bull about how "the customer is number one," FedEx showed its true colors by terminating official service to the Antiguan people. It is doubtful that management's newfound designated "authorized agent" [or what we should more properly call a SCAB subcontracting outfit] Parcel Plus can maintain high levels of quality service in the face of an angry local population supportive of the terminated FedEx workers.

The first and foremost issue leading to unionization in Antigua was management's refusal to abide by the country's law regarding proper payment of sick pay to employees. By consciously snubbing that law, Fred Smith's "goodwill-ambassador-to-the-world" Federal Express thumbed its nose at a sovereign nation's laws, and insulted an entire country's dignity, post-colonial pride, and independence heritage. After all, this is a land where slavery was abolished three decades before the American Civil War! In the United States, Smith is accustomed to "buying" laws favorable to FedEx with millions of dollars in "perks" and "soft" campaign donations benefiting members of both the Republican and Democratic parties. The unwarranted inclusion of FedEx under the anti-union Railway Labor Act is a prime example of this monetary influence of the political process. Apparently in Antigua it's not so easy to purchase legislation or get around laws regulating corporate behavior.

Could Federal Express' disgusting conduct in Antigua have been the result of "poor" decisions made by medium or lower level managers, rather than "at the top"? That is not likely. Antigua FedEx managers report all the way back in a chain of command to Latin America and Caribbean operations divisional headquarters in Miami. And in an important case like the Antiguan situation, with potentially big adverse repercussions, Miami most certainly deferred to Memphis for authorization of its union busting tactics. FedEx is moving very rapidly in the Latin and Caribbean region. Upper management isn't about to allow low-level managers to risk "screwing up" the FedEx image by allowing risky and unauthorized union busting in this area, served by operations in over 50 Latin American nations with about 3,000 employees. Since its 1990 acquisition of Aeroenvios, FedEx has emerged as a leading express company in Mexico. And reflecting its growth plans for the Latin and Caribbean region, FedEx announced its $50 million Miami International Airport hub project in the fall of 1997.

Anonymous said...

Federal Express reinforced its interest in the region by announcing in July its co-sponsorship of a three-day Florida "trade mission" to Mexico to explore investment and trade opportunities. FedEx representatives accompanied Florida Governor Jeb Bush in attending the Mexico City conference of several hundred business and politician types. Dianne Miller Stokely, President of the FedEx Latin America and Caribbean Division, was quoted as saying: "FedEx is proud to sponsor such an important mission. Missions of this type are important in that they promote relationships between countries, improve trade conditions and enable a dialogue for investment and cooperation." Juan Cento, FedEx vice president of Mexico and Central America for FedEx, added "Mexico represents a considerable opportunity for Florida businessmen, especially in light of the opportunities now available thanks to NAFTA."

Are we really to believe that with all these kinds of super ambitious "south of the border" growth and profiteering plans, Federal Express top management wouldn't approve or even instigate union busting plans in Latin and Caribbean nations?

In the case of Antigua there are numerous indications of a premeditated managerial plan in response to union organizing. For instance, a planned move of operations to a different building was put on hold till after the union election. FedEx workers were bluntly told, prior to the union vote, by management that "I'd like to advise you all that Federal Express does not tolerate unions" and "Remember, we do business on this island by choice." The fact that management put off face-to-face negotiations with the Antiguan Workers Union likewise is a typical anti-union ploy. And the business arrangement with the Parcel Plus subcontractor to take on FedEx "scabs" would have been planned in advance before FedEx shut down.

In a clear act of intimidation to employees just before the December union vote, management fired 12-year employee John Farquhar. He was accused of falsely claiming to be sick. Union members believe that management suspected John as a "ringleader" and decided to make an example out of him in order to influence the vote. He is pressing his case, and proudly picketed with striking FedEx workers in August. Note the defiant picket sign stating "There is Still a UNION Without John" in the close-up photograph.

Finally, if all these implied threats and real actions of Federal Express were not made, or at least condoned, by Fred Smith and his FDX Memphis upper entourage, why hasn't he castigated lower management, reversed their Antiguan decisions, called all terminated workers back, and publicly apologized to the government? Fred's complicity seems obvious. To the reasonable person there should be absolutely positively no doubt that extremely high levels of Federal Express management were involved in the approval, and quite possibly the conscious engineering, of the Antiguan union-busting plan. This is standard operating procedure for huge multinational corporations, especially when they expect to get away with it. It's in the nature of the beast.

The announcement in September by officials in Argentina that three different government agencies were investigating Federal Express for possible tax evasion in the neighborhood of $100 million only serves to reinforce the suspicions that there's something terribly rotten about the essence and nature of the "people company." If the charges turn out to be true, a major tax laundering operation like this could only be conducted with the complicity of management at the highest levels. Of course, Federal Express issued its standard 'we didn't do anything wrong' response. The company stated: "If the mentioned charges turn into legal action, FedEx is ready to defend itself vigorously... FedEx is convinced it has acted correctly." Keep in mind that FedEx is rapidly learning to master the old "shell game" with its proliferation of subcontracting practices, such as over the road tractor trailer runs to common carriers, various kinds of courier work to small companies, and Express Saver and ground service to RPS. Why not extend the concept of the physical "shell game" to numerical "creative accounting" practices? Isn't it the same general kind of "let's maximize profits" mentality? Just keep shifting the work and numbers around until it's almost impossible to trace!


The Wisdom of Taking on a Giant Corporation--

With its "ugly American" assault on Antiguan sovereignty and dignity, and possible massive tax evasion in Argentina, FedEx helps revive the argument that multinational corporations are way too economically and politically powerful for the good of the common person. FedEx claims to have 145,000 employees, which is nearly twice the entire population of Antigua & Barbuda. The FDX holding company that includes FedEx is currently publicized as a $17 billion conglomerate. By comparison, the Gross National Product of Antigua & Barbuda is only about half a billion in U.S. dollars. Indeed, many a small nation or third world country's GNP is dwarfed by huge worldwide companies who come and go as they please, in the process buying politicians, abusing entire peoples, and draining wealth and resources into the coffers of the super-rich.

Should a handful of workers dare to stand up to such a powerful adversary? Would anybody give the Antiguans even the slightest chance of successfully negotiating a good union contract with a company possessing the resources, political influence, and arrogance of FedEx? While the odds weren't perhaps favorable in the short term, nobody should ever intellectually deny any group of workers, no matter how small, the right to rise up and say "enough is enough." Because after all, righteous concerns about favoritism, inadequate pay and benefits, the physical and emotional wear and tear of speed-up, and many other abuses add up to become more than just the sum of their parts. They become a blow against one's pride and dignity, and severely wound one's psyche and spirit. Nobody has the right to discourage a human being's attempts to preserve self-respect. And besides, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Rather than questioning the wisdom of a handful of people defying FDX and all its resources and trickery, there's a lot we can learn from these Sisters and Brothers. And quite likely, it is that example of a militant workforce rising up that FedEx feared most. Think about it. Federal Express could easily have annually thrown a few thousand U.S. dollars towards its Antiguan operations to bring its sick pay benefit into compliance with the law of the land. The company could have said, "Oh, we made a mistake, we didn't know [lies: How could they have NOT known? FedEx has operated in Antigua for 12 years!]. Yes, we'll gladly make up your back sick pay, and always comply promptly with the law in the future. But please don't unionize!" But FedEx didn't pursue that option. They chose not to "do the right thing."

What else could management have been thinking other than: "These employees have a backbone and they are getting out of hand. They don't trust us, they are declaring their independence from us, and we can't totally control them any longer. The cat is out of the bag, and our "plantation" days are over. We can't let their example be seen by others who might imitate their Union path. The cancer might spread, so we've got to cut it out. Let's make an example out of them, before they make an example out of us."

FedEx may get away with busting the Antiguan union. It may be allowed to continue to operate through the scab Parcel Plus subcontractor. Someday it may even re-open its Antiguan office under its own name, with a brand new naive and fully subservient workforce. And FedEx may somewhat succeed in intimidating its unionizing employees on other Caribbean islands by setting an "example."

But as to drawing American parallels, we need to realize that FedEx can't possibly "shut down" its entire United States operations! It's BECAUSE Antigua is NOT the United States that we have an excellent chance to succeed in the long term. As we continue organizing at FedEx and RPS, Fred Smith and Co. will have no-where to run and no-where to hide. This company cannot possibly break us if pilots refuse to fly, couriers and RTDs and RPS division "independent" operators refuse to drive, handlers refuse to lift, and CSAs refuse to greet customers, all at the same time.

It's a sign of weakness and desperation that Smith thinks he can "scare" all his employees by picking on less than a dozen people in a small country. The Antiguan workers didn't "fail." They and their allies accomplished much more than we could have ever imagined! In fact, if we in the United States did exactly what they did, that is, stand up for our dignity and rights, form our Union, and develop the ability and willpower to completely shut down the flow of production, then we'd have the entire worldwide operations of Federal Express by the throat. FedEx's resistance to unionization would quickly collapse once management truly understood that the workforce would no longer allow itself to be taken advantage of, and had the power to back up its determination.

Anonymous said...

For those who say the Railway Labor Act won't allow us to strike, at least not until a long "cooling off period" delay of many months, please consider this. FDX and other huge corporations view laws not as democratic, binding statements of a people's will issued by governmental institutions, but as a means to an end to its own "higher law"-- making lots and lots of money. FedEx demonstrated to the world in Antigua that it only obeys those laws that it wants to. And the September announcement that the Argentine government is investigating FedEx for tax evasion in the range of $100 million is more evidence as to the company's contempt for inconvenient laws. Elsewhere in the world FedEx has been throwing its economic and political clout around to grab coveted landing rights and trade protocol favors. In the United States itself, Smith & Co. are accustomed to pressing for big tax breaks for project expansions, and buying favorable legislation such as the unwarranted RLA coverage.

If laws are made to be bought or broken when it's in the interest of a huge corporation, then a truly committed Union having the full support of its membership can also "bend the stick" when faced with a truly unfair, undemocratic, anti-working people law such as the RLA. Had the AFL-CIO stood behind the air traffic controllers of PATCO twenty years ago and initiated massive strike action against federal union busting, working people would all be better off today. After all, the government can't put millions, or even hundreds or tens of thousands, of working people in jail! Sometimes a lesson is learned the hard way, unfortunately. But that lesson is extremely important to FedEx workers contemplating how to someday surmount the obstacle known as the RLA. Rosa Parks and her supporters didn't let an unjust segregation law stop their movement for civil rights. And if we truly have justice on our side, we at FedEx may also one day decide to creatively snub the RLA.

Many decades ago Henry Ford vowed he'd never run his auto factories if "his" workers unionized. But "his" workers quickly tired of his patronizing attitude and favoritism, they chose to unionize, they made just demands upon management, and they shut down the auto plants when the demands were ignored. These workers didn't "wait" for any law to help them. There weren't any! The end result? Henry Ford was forced to realize that if he wanted the cash to continue to flow in, he had no choice but to recognize and negotiate with the United Auto Workers. And he did. Henry Ford is long dead and gone. But the UAW remains! As does the Ford Motor Company.

Likewise, you'll one day see FedEx fully capitulate to our major Union demands. Because if there is one thing that Fred Smith & Co. hates more than Unions, it's seeing that flow of $$$$$$ into their bank accounts and stock portfolios being cut off. Rabid union-hater Fred Smith has already very reluctantly been forced to recognize and negotiate with one Union, the FedEx Pilots Association. He threatened and delayed and shucked and jived and intimidated the pilots for five years. Smith brought in the expensive union-busting "think" tank consultants to help him. He succeeded in dividing the pilots so badly at one point that they decertified one union with proven national affiliations and first-rate contracts, and replaced it with a narrow "FedEx-only" organization that Smith hoped would be a subservient "company" union. But eventually the reasonable demands for airline industry economic parity, and the soul-searching quest for dignity and respect, unified the pilots enough to win a first contract. They didn't get everything they wanted. And we don't know if they were unified enough to "face down" Smith, strike, and win even more. But we do know that as their unity solidifies, and as they gain significant support from other unionizing FedEx employees, the pilots' next contract in four years can potentially register significant and even landmark improvements.

Antigua is a small, distant point on the end of a spoke; the United States is the hub itself, the "belly of the beast." FDX management cannot operate the "spokes" of its multinational corporation when key groupings of workers in the central "hub" refuse to cooperate. If we in the "hub" imitate the example of our Antiguan Sisters and Brothers, and develop their sense of dignity and independence and determination and fortitude, and utilize their methods, we can give the American beast an ulcer so burning and so aching that we will one day have a proud and first-rate Union Contract! And at that point we can offer our SOLIDARITY to help assure that organizing and contract efforts elsewhere around the world, even in small countries like Antigua, can succeed, rather than be squashed.

So don't look at Antigua and hastily think: "Oh my gosh! See what happens if we try to unionize! We'll surely lose our jobs!" That's exactly what management wants to mislead you into thinking! That's why they hammered down in Antigua, hoping you'd draw simplistic and erroneous conclusions! Instead, look deeper into the situation. Realize that once we have the participation and determination and unity that the Antiguan FedEx workers proudly exhibited, we can be victorious! It's the example of what the Antiguans did, and how they went about it, that we should learn from, and not be frightened into thinking that we too will lose our jobs if we unionize. A half-dozen people by themselves CANNOT shut down a multinational $17 billion company. But tens of thousand of United States workers CAN, if necessary!

If a tiny workforce can unionize, go on strike and economically cripple FedEx, morally shame it for all to see, rally fellow working people behind them so solidly that they refuse to handle capital flight at the seaport, line up politicians and human rights advocates to speak out on their behalf and pressure the company, and call out for international Solidarity, certainly we in the United States can do it!

We have the POWER! We just need to realize that we have it, and develop the UNITY and the WILL to use that POWER whenever necessary!


The Value of Effective International Solidarity--

Federal Express is a growing multinational octopus, with orange & purple suckered tentacles reaching and grabbing into the four corners of the globe. Therefore to be most effective, its Union Movement must cross international boundaries and nations' borders. As we grow, both here in the United States and worldwide, we'll increasingly network with one another, support one another, and coordinate our strategies and tactics. We'll learn to fight fire with fire.

What specifically could have been done to help the Antiguans? What capabilities will be necessary to give such a small group of people a realistic fighting chance?

As just discussed, the "guaranteed" way for the FedEx members of the Antiguan Workers Union to have triumphed would be for a powerful Union Movement based in the United States to have come to their assistance and championed their demands. Such a loyal ally would have in no uncertain terms handed an immediate ultimatum to Fred Smith & Company: Do right by the Antiguans or we'll shut you down until you do! Not a plane will fly, and not a truck will roll! Smith, ante up some money and some respect to these Sisters and Brothers, or we'll cut off every dime of your cash flow.

In the case of Antigua, the list of demands championed by such a powerful United States FedEx Union Movement might include:


issuance of a full and public apology to the FedEx workforce, the government, and the people of Antigua

resumption of complete Antiguan operations and termination of all subcontractor relations with Parcel Plus

reinstatement of all terminated employees wanting their jobs back and payment of monetary damages to those who no longer wish to work for the "people company"

payment of wages to all fired employees for the time they were off in addition to their retention of severance pay as restitution for management's conduct

issuance of a public pledge to respect and fully comply with all Antiguan labor laws

immediate recognition of and prompt bargaining with the Antiguan Workers Union

resignation from FDX of all high-level executives responsible for the anti-people decisions implemented in Antigua


A powerful regional Union Movement in the Caribbean and Latin America might also possess enough economic and political clout to bring victory to the Antiguans. Or a strong showing of Solidarity from Euroepan FedEx unions, or from elsewhere in the world, could also weigh in heavily on their side.

Anonymous said...

All these possibilties depend upon and benefit from the ever-expanding capabilities of worldwide communications between working people and their international unions and organizations. This website feature on the Antiguan situation, for instance, was pulled together in a little over one week's time, thanks to wire services, newspaper accounts, relations between existing unions, telephone and internet connections, and most importantly, a network of committed pro-Union FedEx workers throughout the United States. This network recognized the significance of the Antiguan issue, performed some research, made some contacts, and PRESTO! we're attempting to alert the entire world to the atrocity committed by Federal Express in Antigua. None of us are union staffers paid to organize; in fact, most of us work fulltime at our FedEx jobs, and also devote time to our families each and every day. We're just a bunch of concerned working people who care about one another and the futures of our families!

And there-in lies the significance of worldwide communications and international union power: FedEx can run, but it can never hide. A FedEx Union Movement that extends beyond borders and oceans will see to that.

Whether FedEx meant to scare FDX workers worldwide, or thought nobody would ever find out about its despicable Antiguan assault outside the islands of the Caribbean, we don't have enough information to say at this time. But we can safely conclude that a big bully only picks on those he feels sure he can whip. And once a bully is stood up to by a strong enough counterforce, he WILL back down. Because by nature, a bully is a coward.

Anonymous said...

Daynor Dow, employee #169503, was the chief shop steward at FedEx in Antigua. She is 27 years old, and worked for FedEx for seven and a half years. Daynor was a customer service agent.

UNION PRIDE conducted a telephone interview with Daynor, and then followed it up with an exchange of Emails. The following questions (in blue) were submitted to Daynor, followed by her responses (in black). Minor edits are in [brackets].




* * * * * * * * *



1. Daynor, please explain to Federal Express workers around the world the issue, or issues, that caused dissatisfaction among the company's employees on Antigua. Why did you unionize?



The final straw was when Nellie Concepcion, Personnel Rep. from Miami lied to us in our faces and said our Labor Commissioner in Antigua approved their policy of only 3 sick days a year, when our law stipulate 12 paid sick days per year, and one employee was terminated for been sick although he had all the necessary documentation for the Company.



2. Please tell us about the FedEx workforce on Antigua. How many hourly people were employed by Federal Express? How long had they worked for the company? Did they all support the union and stay until the company's pull-out?

Rudolph Jonas - 12 yrs. - Courier - Unionized
Natasha Adams - 4 yrs. Customer Service Agent - Unionized
Marva Ireland - 2 yrs. Customer Service Agent - Unionized
Winston Drew - 1 yr. Ramp Agent - Unionized
Daynor Dow - 7 yrs. Customer Service Agent - Unionized

The above supported the Union.

The following are non-union members and who did not support the Union.

Katica Chaderton - 7 yrs. - Customer Service Agent
James Dublin - 2 yrs. - Courier
Sydney Codrington - 5 yrs. - Courier

Patricia Hall - Manager
Devon Jarvis - Customs Rep. - Contract Worker
Seymour Brookes - Courier - Contract Worker
Gwendolyn Lewis - Data Entry - Contract Worker

In fact the above people [non-union] laughed at us, and up to this day does not see any reason why we did what we did, but are very grateful for the pay-out that the Union arranged from the company. Go figure!

3. Daynor, over the telephone you mentioned numerous management people. Could you name these people and tell us their FedEx titles? After FedEx closed down its operation, did any of these people stay on Antigua, or take a position with the Parcel Plus subcontractor?

Regional - Allison Mouttet
Julie Lasa (45275)
Managing Director Caribbean - Linda Williamson (16877)

Personnel: Nathan Lowstuter, Nellie Concepcion, Tony Medina

They never did anything about the employees complaints.

The un-unionized employees that are with the subcontract "Parcel Plus" are:
Station Manager - Patricia Hall (124956)
Sydney Codrington - (202112)
James Dublin - (290971)
Katica Chaderton - (169504)

The above [un-unionized] employees were all given benefits from the Manager (Station). e.g. driving the FEDEX vehicles on weekends and carrying their families out in the vehicles. Miss devious, cunning, conniving and danger is Miss Patricia Hall. Mrs. Hall never stood up for us and spoke badly about us and in front our faces pretended as if nothing was going on.

4. Please describe to us the "dinner" held for FedEx hourly employees after you filed for unionization. What did management say at that meeting? How did employees "receive" those comments?

The dinner was at Trade Winds Hotel. The dinner was for 8:00 but did not start until after 9:00. The dinner was on our (the staff's) time and as usual Fedex Managers gave no respect for our time. We were told we could order whatever we wanted but by the time it was time to order, we only had a choice of two items to eat. So much so, most of us decided not to eat. Talks began in the conference room, it began with Linda Williamson, Managing Director. Her opening statements were, Federal Express does not tolerate unions and remember we do business on this island by choice. After hearing this we the unionized employees had nothing to say. We only answered yes or no or I don't know to what they asked. I think after a while they (Fedex Managers) got upset as we were asked to leave. We showed them no respect the same they showed us and they were upset we never bothered with them.

5. In the United States FedEx uses many anti-union tricks. Did FedEx try to "discourage" Antiguan employees from voting for the Union? Were any real or implied "suggestions" or "threats" made to FedEx employees by management after they learned of interest in the union? Over the phone you mentioned that plans for a move to a different building were canceled, and you also mentioned "individual ways" that mgt. influenced workers, such as "loaning" a van on weekends to one employee, and donating clothing to another. Did you say they flew in a bodyguard, and was he armed? Did the union election take place promptly?

The[y] offered two employees who worked for over 10 years with the company a package for payoff to leave the company and the other an early retirement package. One [of] the said employees were eventually terminated because they were of the opinion that he was the one behind the Union. These were some of the tactics used to narrow down the vote. An employee on training in Miami was told by Linda Williamson, "I have the power to close any Fedex Station I wish!" We were also told in a meeting before voting that we should not vote as yet for the Union until we give Julie and Linda a chance. (continued)

Anonymous said...

Patricia Hall told us this. Voting was to be the 9th December, Management never put up the notice for employees which the laws of the land says should be done. The above is just a few of the tricks. Voting was delayed for months. After we voted and the Union won we moved office because there is a law for unfit working conditions. Yes they did fly in a bodyguard, but I have no idea if he was armed not or not.

6. Is there any sympathy among Parcel Plus employees for the FedEx workers whose jobs they have been forced to steal? Are any former FedEx managers or hourly workers now employed by this subcontractor agent?

No sympathy seen as yet from Parcel Plus. It very strange that Parcel Plus took on only the non-unionized Fedex employees. They are Patricia Hall - Manager, Katica Chaderton - Customer Service Agent, James Dublin - Courier, Sydney Codrington - Courier, Devon Jarvis - Customs Agent - Contract, Gwendolyn Lewis - Data Entry - Contract.

7. If management supposedly "sympathised" with one of your co-workers enough to donate clothes to their family, that implies that wages paid by FedEx Antigua are insufficient. Could you describe the beginning and top FedEx wage rates, and how long it takes to reach full pay? How does Antiguan currency compare to United States dollars? If Antigua has an official "poverty line," are there FedEx workers who fall below it or qualify for any form of government economic assistance?


Yes, wages are insufficient. As well as the Manager kept down employees that she could not control. Well! We have not seen this so called scale that they take our salaries from. Each employee starts wherever the manager wants he or she to start. Employees never reached their full pay. One US$1.00 = EC$2.60. There is no government economic assistance.

8. Does FedEx offer a "Guaranteed Fair Treatment" procedure in Antigua?

GFT does not exist. It is a joke. There is no such thing. Its like Santa - have you ever seen him? For e.g., one employee was on suspension, and then fired. He was not allowed on the premises, so there was no way for him to get any assistance through the GFT policy.

9. In the United States, FedEx portays "personnel reps" as being on the side of employees during disputes. Did a personnel rep interact with Antiguan workers during this simmering dispute? What's the difference between a company rep and a shop steward like you, Daynor?

There is no such thing as a Personnel Rep. And the people we have seen with such a title are born liars. As well as they do not know the difference between a so called Personnel Rep. and Shop Steward - A Shop Steward takes the time to find out what our law allows and what would help the employee, not what would limit or subdue the employee.

10. Can you tell us about the pension, benefits, and health care coverage FedEx provided for its Antiguan workers? Did the company fully pay for your health coverage?

We hear of the benefits of Aetna, but we have never seen this so called coverage, e.g., we have an employee who has been with Fedex for 12 years. This employee a few years ago was sick in the hospital and we were told that Aetna Insurance would pay your bill and will fly you out for care. Well! The Manager in Antigua never told Aetna and did not want to pay anything as she believed it would come out of her budget. Go figure!

11. What support have Antiguan working people offered you?

Antiguans right now are [with] us very much, so much so, Fedex made an attempt to have the vans leave the Island, but was met with problems as the Port workers refused to place the vans in the container.

12. On the telephone you described Federal Express as a "plantation with air conditioning." What did you mean by that? What attitude do you perceive by this huge multinational corporation towards your country's laws, people, and culture?

We were just a number, the same as in the days of slavery. We were not looked at as people but instead as working live stock. Fedex believes they are above all countries and laws.

13. In the United States many unions have actively opposed so-called "free trade" international agreements like NAFTA. They say that these "free trade" protocols hasten the unrestricted flow of capital, boost corporate control, and maximize profits, all at the expense of labor standards, environmental safety, and the sovereignty of nations. Daynor, do you have an opinion on this subject in the aftermath of your dealings with a huge holding company worth over $17 billion United States dollars?

I do not support Nafta because it would allow billion dollar companies like Fedex to take advantage of the third world and undeveloped countries.

14. How could this labor dispute on Antigua be brought to a satisfactory close? What could FedEx do to "make it right" with its employees?

Nothing! We will never forget, no matter how much they [offer] us, once bitten, twice shy!

15. If the company does NOT make it right, what steps should be taken in retribution?

The banning of Fedex aircraft landing rights. As well as the banning of the subcontractor activity.

16. Daynor, do you have anything special you'd like to say to FedEx employees worldwide?

CYA (Cover your Ass)! Trust no one! Do not attempt to know Upper Management. They do not like you, care for you, or want to have anything to do with you. Remember, you are just a NUMBER!

However, you must REMEMBER THAT IT'S ONLY IN NUMBERS YOU HAVE STRENGTH. ALSO NEVER FORGET TO STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

UNION PRIDE: We wish you and your Antiguan FedEx Sisters and Brothers success in your endeavors, and we thank you for abiding by your principles. Daynor, on behalf of Federal Express workers around the world, I offer my condemnation of the company's conduct and practices in your country. And I look forward to the day when our Union in the United States is strong enough to respond to similar FedEx attacks on co-workers anywhere in the world by stopping the movement of every single FedEx plane and truck.

Anonymous said...

[The following articles are posted with the very KIND PERMISSION of The Daily Observer and Antigua Sun newspapers of Antigua. Neither paper keeps an on-line archives at this time, so we thank them for their gracious cooperation. The Antigua Sun does post its most current daily edition on-line, and you are encouraged to visit that site for updates. Both the Antigua Sun and The Daily Observer websites contain very interesting information about the history, culture, economy, and people of Antigua & Barbuda. The photographs from Antigua on preceding web pages were kindly provided by The Daily Observer.]


1. The Daily Observer of Monday, August 23, 1999

Fed Ex Workers On Strike

All of the unionised employees of the international delivery company Federal Express at the Long Street location, took industrial action by walking off of the job on Friday. They were joined by their union representative Chester Hughes, industrial relations officer of the Antigua Workers Union. The workers said that they were protesting because three employees whose names were not identified, took a sick day and those individuals were not compensated for it.

"Three employees get paid on the fortnight and the rest at the end of the month," said Daynor Dowe a Fed Ex employee on strike. "Out of the three, they were not paid for the Monday, and there's no explanation as to why they were not paid."

Dowe said that when the individuals inquired about the matter, they were advised by management to check with company officials in Miami.

Workers who walked off the job included Marva Ireland, Daynor Dowe, a worker whom the employees refer to as Sting and Natasha Adams.

The striking employees are waiting word from the Labour Commissioner, as to what steps have been taken to resolve the matter. Dowe says they will continue to strike until the employees have been paid for their sick days.

The Daily Observer sought an explanation from the manager at the Long Street location, however, we were told that she had no comment.




2. The Daily Observer of Thursday, August 26, 1999

FedEx Quits Antigua, All Workers Fired

Federal Express Antigua Ltd. (FedEx) pulled out of Antigua yesterday after over 12 years of operation.

The courier service's representative, Attorney-at-law Nicholas Fuller of Commodore and Associates, yesterday announced during the afternoon conference with the Labour Commissioner and Antigua Workers Union (AWU) representatives that all employees have been terminated as of Wednesday, August 25, and that they have been served notices that severance packages will be paid them in accordance with local laws within six to eight weeks.

Unionized FedEx employees, after going on strike on Friday, August 20, had protested all this week against the company's refusal to pay sick benefits to three workers.

However, FedEx with its worldwide anti-union policy of neither acknowledging or tolerating trade unions, was forced to either meet with the union or close up shop.

"Once they going to be here, they have to come to the bargaining table," said Chester Hughes, Industrial Relations Officer at AWU. "So there was no other way out of this but for them to pull up and leave."

Public Relations Officer at FedEx's Miami office, Jennifer McGowan, refused to comment except to say that an official statement would become available today.

Relations between management and employees have been under strain since five of the company's eleven employees joined the AWU in December 1998.

Labour Commissioner Austin Josiah is meanwhile expected to release what has been termed "very strong recommendations against the company and it's antiquated union busting tactics" sometime today.

"As far as we are concerned, this behavior is not in line with our industrial relations practice," said Hughes.

"The employees have been wrongfully dismissed and the union is going all out, including suing for damages," he said. "FedEx has an obligation to the employees and to this country and we will bring their practices to the attention of the Labour Attache of the US Embassy."

Hughes said that lawmakers must see to it that employees are properly covered against "international sharks that come, eat you and leave you" with little recourse.

Meanwhile, customers of the former FedEx Courier service are being advised to check in with Parcel Plus which has taken over FedEx's business.

Anonymous said...

3. The Daily Observer of Friday August 27, 1999 [Editorial]

The FedEx Skedaddle

FedEx (Federal Express (Antigua) Ltd), the Miami-based international courier service provider, on Wednesday shut down their Long Street operations in St. John's after a 12-year spree aboard the proverbial gravy train. Yes, after more than twelve delicious years of profit reaping, the fat international messenger chose to close up shop and fly off into the sunset (or, is it sunrise) rather than meet with the bargaining agent of dissatisfied employees to address their legitimate grievances.

The trouble at FedEx started when workers walked off the job a week ago today, in sympathetic solidarity with three fellow employees, whose fortnightly wage had been docked a day's pay for being absent from work due to illness. The Labour Code provides that a worker is entitled to payment of wages in full for two consecutive days' absence due to uncertified sickness. According to Chester Hughes AWU representative, FedEx had no lawful grounds for withholding the employees' full pay under the circumstances. And, instead of doing, not what the union demanded, but what the law requires of them, namely: to pay the three workers their wages for the one day they were off work because of sickness, FedEx decided to brazen it out, to flout the law and, finally, to close up shop and, as they say, split the scene.

That relations between management and employees have been under strain since five of FedEx's eleven employees joined the Antigua Workers Union in December, 1998 comes as no surprise. FedEx's antipathy towards unions is legendary throughout the United States and all over the 211 countries in which they operate world-wide.

What surprises us, is that FedEx chose to skedaddle rather than to comply with the law of the land. Their attitude is somewhat akin to other foreigners who come here to do business with us and among us, and would rather corruptly lobby the administration for changes in law that would suit their narrow, selfish purposes than to comply with existing laws which have proved beneficial for the majority of those who live and have lived under it.

FedEx, not unlike any other entrepreneur who came after them, knew of the existence of the Antigua Workers Union (AWU) and the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT & LU) when they came to do business in this country over twelve years ago. They also knew that there was a Labour Code in which was set out, in unambiguous terms, the rights and correlative responsibilities of employers with their employees. FedEx, as employer, had as much right in attempting to keep out the unions as the employees had to peacefully agitate for unionisation. But once the union was in the door, that should have been the end of the matter, so far as the matter concerned FedEx. Their duty as employer was to negotiate with the union in good faith. But their hatred of unions needlessly blinded them to the fact that withholding their employees' sick pay had nothing whatsoever to do with the union but rather constituted a clear violation of the Labour Code. Now the Nation's unemployment figure has increased by eleven, thanks to multinational bullheadedness.

It is just as well. Those who are not prepared to abide by the law of this country should move on. Don't threaten anyone, just move on.


4. The Daily Observer of Friday, August 27, 1999

Labour Commissioner Blasts FedEx,
Calls Departure Outrageous

Labour Commissioner Austin Josiah called FedEx's (Federal Express Antigua Ltd.) swift closure and pull out of local operations "unbelievable, outrageous and unprecedented."

FedEx closed abruptly on Wednesday, August 25, after being embroiled in a week-long controversy with its eleven employees over the company's refusal to pay sick benefits and recognize the workers' bargaining agents, the Antigua Workers Union.

At a press conference yesterday, the Commissioner stated that the behaviour of the multinational courier service provider is an "affront to Antigua and Barbuda." He said that the company should not expect to close down the business, offer to pay severance to its employees and "then believe this is it."

"Acceptance of such gross misconduct . . . would obliterate the 'dignity of Labour' in the brutish power of authoritarian capitalist dictatorship," he said.

The Antigua and Barbuda Human Rights Association (HRA) also had condemning words for FedEx.

HRA Public Relations Officer Raymond Simon said that FedEx's actions were "an insult to the Constitution, and the Labour Commissioner and violated the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) right of freedom of association."

He urged that government take a stand against FedEx who should be made to obey the laws and Constitution and completely rescind their action and to thoroughly investigate the relationship between FedEx and Parcel Plus, the authorized agents for Federal Expres

Anonymous said...

(continued)

Josiah in making recommendations for settlement of the matter called, in part, for FedEx to pay employees the following:
One month's salary in lieu of notice.
As compensation for unfair dismissal: Workers 1-5 years = 6 months' salary; Workers 6-9 years = 8 months' salary; Workers 10 and over = 1 year's salary.




5. Antigua Sun of Friday, August 27, 1999

UPP supports laid off couriers

by Natlie S. Flemming

The opposition United Progressive Party is throwing its full support behind the workers of Federal Express (Antigua ) Ltd.

Party leader Baldwin Spencer said it was unfortunate that the company decided to pull out of Antigua & Barbuda mainly because their workers were seeking union representation.

"This just demonstrates how some foreign investors and employers feel that they can come into this country and just flout our laws and expect people to succumb to it.

"Of course we know that Federal Express has an international reputation of being union-busters and of being anti-union, and they expected that they would have gotten away with this situation," said Spencer.

He said foreign investors doing business in the country needed to abide by the laws governing the state. "I think if we allow these foreign investors to come into this country to operate they must be allowed in on the basis that they are going to abide by the laws of Antigua & Barbuda. And they will not, under any those circumstances, abscond or be prepared to run away from legal obligations, which is what Federal Express has done."

Describing the sudden closure of Federal Express (Antigua) Ltd after 12 years of operation in the country, "as a serious development", Spencer said "we have to be very careful how we deal with foreign investors in the future."


6. Antigua Sun of Thursday, September 2, 1999

AWU calls on PM to declare FedEx
'persona non grata'

by Ricky Nanton

The Antigua Workers Union has called on the Prime Minister to declare Federal Express "persona non grata" in Antigua & Barbuda.

A letter from the union dated 1 Sept. stated: "At a meeting on the 25 Aug. 1999, which was scheduled by the Labour Department between the parties to resolve the matter, all the employees were served with dismissal letters through the law firm of Commodore and Associates, with effect from the said 25 Aug., 1999.

Federal Express unilaterally closed its operation here, and its expatriate management left the country secretly, and designated Parcel Plus as its agent in Antigua & Barbuda.

The Labour Commissioner best described the action by the company, when he stated: "Acceptance of such gross misconduct by an employer would obliterate the dignity of labour, in the brutish power of authoritarian capitalist dictatorship."

Antigua & Barbuda being a member of the International Labour Organization, has ratified and is a party to Conventions 87 and 98 which deal with freedom of association and collective bargaining.

"This type of behaviour by any employer must be regarded as unacceptable and hostile to any self-respecting government. Accordingly the AWU is requesting that Federal Express be declared 'persona non grata' in Antigua & Barbuda, and their hiding behind Parcel Plus to continue business in this country should not be allowed.

"We await your response to this correspondence as expeditiously as possible."

Additionally, the AWU outlined for the Prime Minister the scenario leading up to the Federal Express shutdown and its departure from Antigua & Barbuda, and consequent labour and union demands for a severance package.

To date FedEx has only paid its severed employees their August salaries and the disputed sick pay. They are yet to get back to the union and the Labour Commissioner with their decisions on the severance package, loss of earnings pay, and late notice pay presented to them as compensation for the employees unfair dismissal.

Anonymous said...

7. Daily Observer of Saturday, September 4, 1999

Antigua Workers' Union (AWU) press release

Port Workers In Solidarity
With FedEx Workers

Unionised port workers at Antigua's main seaport, Deepwater Harbour, today refused to handle packing and shipment of vans owned by the American company, Federal Express who just last week shut down its operations in Antigua, severing all Is employees following an industrial dispute.

Industrial Officer of the Antigua Workers' Union Chester Hughes, who is dealing with the Federal Express matter said the Union was notified midday today of the intended action of the port worker, Hughes who went to the port to investigate the matter said on arrival the workers informed him that they were showing solidarity with the workers of Federal Express.

The workers protested Federal Express vehicles being allowed to be stored at the port. The Vehicles were subsequently removed from the port. According to workers also, they refused to handle the paper works for shipping of the vehicles.

The Antigua Worker's Union the union which is handling the Federal Express matter also represents workers on the docks at the country's main seaport. The dismissed workers of Federal Express and their Union representative expressed their gratitude to the workers at the port for the solidarity support.

Federal Express has until Monday 6th September to indicate whether it will accept the Labour Commissioners recommendations in full or not. The Union has already accepted the recommendations.


8. Antigua Sun of Monday, September 6, 1999

Port workers in solidarity with former
FedEx employees

by Ricky Nanton

Unionized workers at the Deepwater Harbour refused on Friday to handle packing and shipment of vans owned by Federal Express.

Federal Express shut down operations in Antigua last week, severing all staff following an industrial dispute.

The industrial officer of the Antigua Workers Union, Chester Hughes, investigated the matter at the Port and said he was told by the workers that they were showing solidarity with the former FedEx employees.

The workers also protested Federal Express vehicles being stored at the Port, and the vehicles were subsequently removed.

The workers also refused to handle any paperwork related to the shipment of the vehicles.

Federal Express has until today to indicate whether or not it will accept the Labour Commissioner's recommendations.

The union has already accepted the recommendations.



9. Antigua Sun of Tuesday, September 7, 1999

FRONT PAGE HEADLINE

Federal Express workers to be compensated

by Natlie S. Flemming

Dismissed workers of Federal Express (Antigua) Ltd. are to get over half a million dollars in compensation.

This amount is based on a recommendation made by Labour Commissioner Austin Josiah.

Josiah indicated that approximately $230,000 of that amount was paid to the former employees on Monday, and that Federal Express has asked its local attorney, Nicholas Fuller of Commodore and Associates, to compute the figures for the final section of the Commissioner's recommendation for the settlement.

The company has also requested that Josiah certify the figures as correct.

In this respect, Josiah on Monday met with the workers and their bargaining agents, the Antigua Workers Union, with a view to ensuring that all parties are on track with the recommendation for settlement, and to have a consensus figure submitted to Federal Express by today.

Anonymous said...

(continued)
Yesterday was Labour Day in the United States.

Josiah hopes that the Federal Express Company will have this matter settled on or before Friday, 10 Sept.

Industrial Relations Officer of the AWU Chester Hughes said the four workers whom the union represents received $96,610.10 of the total pay out.

This figure, he said, includes severance and vacation pay, notice, and the workers' bonus, but it does not include their compensation package.

Speaking on the outcome of the meeting with former FedEx employees and Josiah, Hughes said the offer is on the table for compensation.

"FedEx seems willing to accept the recommendations made by Josiah and so we are awaiting payment," he said.

He said the workers felt that they were treated badly by FedEx and they are finally beginning to "see a sun set at the end of the day."

The Labour Commissioner recommended equity payments for FedEx employees with 1-3 years service to receive 12 days pay per year; 4-6 years, 15 per year; 7-9 years, 18 days per year; and 10 years and over, 22 days per year.

Additionally, employees with the company for the period 1-5 years are to be paid six months' salary as compensation for unfair dismissal; employees with 6-9 years, eight months salary; and employees with the company 10 years and over, a year's salary.

Eligible employees to be paid their Provident Fund Benefits.

Federal Express (Antigua) Ltd. closed its doors last month over its refusal to recognize the AWU as the official bargaining agents of the workers.

Meantime, Prime Minister Lester Bird has replied to a letter from the AWU calling on the government to declare the company "persona non grata."

Mr. Bird said the "government is fully involved in the matter through the Labour Commissioner."

He added, "If, as you say, Federal Express is hiding behind another company to continue business in this country, and no arms length relationship can be established, I expect the Labour Commissioner to advise the government accordingly and appropriate action will be taken."

The Prime Minister continued, "The Labour Commissioner must be given the opportunity to assess the situation and advise on the best course to take."

He concluded, "My government will act when the Labour Commissioner has completed his assessment and given his recommendations."

Mr. Bird said his government strives at all times for industrial peace and for fair play, but it will act decisively if any body or organization is found to be disregarding the rules of industrial conduct in Antigua & Barbuda.